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Ag Day Brings Farm Life To School
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A member of Oakdale Saddle Club helps Fair Oaks kindergartner Carter Franca, right, learn how to rope a dummy steer during the schools Ag Day on Oct. 21. - photo by Dawn M. Henley/The Leader

Students at Fair Oaks and Cloverland elementary schools were able to get up close and personal with different kinds of animals, farmers and ranchers, and other people who work in agriculture on Oct. 21 as the schools both hosted Ag Day Roundups. The events each featured dozens of indoor and outdoor presenters and displays representing different facets of agriculture.

The program promotes Ag literacy so children can learn where their food and clothes come from and give them an opportunity to ask questions and touch some of the animals.

Cattle rancher Richard Gaiser has done Ag Day presentations for three years. He brought a Hereford cow and his old Border Collie cow dog “Jonesie.” Gaiser talked to the students about the different parts and uses of a cow and how they don’t just produce meat. Other products such as leather, insulin, marshmallows and gelatins are cattle byproducts. He also discussed how they take their cattle to graze in the national forest in the summertime and the benefits associated with that. He also talked about cowbells and how they serve as a “barometer” for what’s going on with the cattle when they’re on the range because certain sounds or movements of the bells indicate if there are predators, people, or if the cattle are relaxed. The humane treatment of animals was another topic he covered and said ranchers benefit from that because the animals live longer, they have fewer injuries, they’re safer to themselves and people who work around them, and calmer animals do better and gain more weight in feed lots.

Sierra 4-H club leader Gina Morgan has presented at Ag Day for at least six years. She had two of her club members, Blake Morgan and Hope Kindred helping out who showed off 17 rabbits representing eight different breeds that day. Students were able to pet the different rabbit breeds and see the different colors and feel the textures of their fur. The 4-H members also fulfilled community service requirements and acquired some public speaking skills at Ag Day as well.

Chairpersons Megan Reisz from Fair Oaks and Sue Moran from Cloverland worked with committees to bring the presenters and provided them with lunch and hospitality at the end of the day.s