Ag Day event educates students

Nearly 900 local fourth-grade students will experience and interact with the exhibits, area farmers and organizations when they attend Bartholomew County Farm Bureau’s annual Ag Day.

The March 28 event at the Bartholomew County 4-H Fairgrounds will include students from Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. and St. Peter’s and White Creek Lutheran schools.

Students are scheduled to attend more than 30 classes at two dozen stations set up throughout several buildings on the fairgrounds, including the Community Building, Pavilion and a barn.

“We have a whole schedule for them,” said Lois Bonnell, public relations director for Bartholomew County Farm Bureau. “We have split the schools up into two sessions with one in the morning and the other in the afternoon.”

Each of the participating classes will receive a schedule about what they’re doing and where, Bonnell said. FFA student volunteers from Columbus East and Columbus North high schools will serve as guides who will take the teachers and students to each of the locations on their itinerary.

Each year the Purdue Extension Office of Bartholomew County is one of several area organizations that participates in the event, Bonnell said. This year, the organization will have a booth offering students information about 4-H and how they can get involved.

“We want to get kids interested in participating and for them to know that 4-H is more than just farm kids,” said Elisabeth Smith, Bartholomew County’s Extension director and 4-H youth development extension educator. “We want to dispel those myths and get kids excited about it and hopefully participating in it.”

This year, students will have an estimated 10 minutes at each of the stations, Bonnell said. Presentations include materials designed to teach kids about farming, machinery and technology used in farming, soil and water conservation and, of course, farm animals.

“We have lots of livestock, including sheep, pigs and a dairy cow,” Bonnell said. “Not all the animals can they touch, but a lot of times we try to have a dairy calf and the kids get to pet it. There will also be bunnies, ducks and chickens.”

The timing of the event is linked to coincide with the children’s curriculum, which was the intention when the inaugural event was launched in the early 1990s, Bonnell said. During elementary school, kids are learning about health and food nutrition, and this closely ties in, she added.

Bonnell’s expectations for the event are quite simple.

“Kids have no idea where their food comes from,” Bonnell said. “I hope they get a better understanding of what a farmer is and where their food comes from.”

Pull Quote

“Kids have no idea where their food comes from. I hope they get a better understanding of what a farmer is and where their food comes from.”

— Lois Bonnell, public relations director for Bartholomew County Farm Bureau