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Ag Day reaches milestone, marks 25 years in district
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Sierra View students surround a pen of goats as presenters share fun facts about the animals and their varying breeds. Teresa Hammond/The Leader

What originally began as two educators sharing a passion with their students, has blossomed into an annual event for not just one Oakdale elementary school but all four.

On Friday, May 10 both Sierra View and Magnolia Elementary schools took a turn at hosting their Annual Ag Day events. Cloverland and Fair Oaks hosted theirs earlier in the spring.

As presenters filled the classrooms as well as playgrounds on each campus, Magnolia Elementary – unbeknownst to many – was treated to a special visitor.

While her job this past Friday may have been working the hospitality room for the Magnolia presenters, her impact stretches back approximately a quarter century.

“I don’t even remember,” Nancy Osmundson shared of initiating the event. “They say 25 years ago that we started this. At that time, it was quite difficult. Nobody had ever heard of this. To get people to come and do this.”

Osmundson at the time taught first grade at Magnolia and, with both a husband and son in the dairy business, she felt the education was important for local students.

Prior to starting Ag Day, Osmundson shared they would take her first-grade class to her son’s dairy. It was then she came to realize how many students, as well as their parents, knew very little about agriculture.

“’Diane Dickson and I were members of Ag in the Classroom, a wonderful program,” Osmundson explained.

“Then we learned about this program through Ag in the Classroom,” she said of Ag Day. “Mrs. (Pam) Antinetti was our principal, and she was all for it. She recommended the district pay for us to go to workshops.”

The duo first visited an Ag Day in Hughson and then presented the idea to the district administration. By the second year of hosting the event at Magnolia Elementary, Osmundson shared they were approached by the district superintendent to host at the other two elementary schools in the district then, Fair Oaks and Cloverland.

“The superintendent asked us to have a day, to get us all together to have a day where people from all three campuses came to meet with us,” she said. “He wanted it to be at all schools, because he saw the value in it.”

From then forward Ag Day has continued to be hosted annually at now all four elementary schools.

“It’s so wonderful,” Osmundson said of seeing the growth.

Now she herself often attends as a presenter. This year she planted green beans with first graders at Cloverland.

“The teachers were very receptive here at Magnolia and Pam was very supportive,” she said of the early years.

Growing up on a farm and being surrounded by agriculture her entire life, Osmundson shared she feels the program is important for many reasons. Most specifically she believes it’s important for Oakdale’s youth that aren’t interested in four-year colleges to be exposed to other avenues. Options that may lead them to trade schools or work in agriculture or owning their own business in the ag industry.

“So much of our stuff in Oakdale is agriculture-related,” she said.

And marking 25 years of highlighting the industry was a satisfying moment.

“It’s just a wonderful opportunity and we get to meet people in the community. It really is just a wonderful thing,” Osmundson concluded.

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Retired Oakdale teacher and Ag Day co-founder Nancy Osmundson was all smiles working the hospitality room at Magnolia Elementary Ag Day on Friday, May 10. Teresa Hammond/The Leader
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Always a fun Ag Day attraction, Magnolia students give roping a try during the annual event this past week. Teresa Hammond/The Leader