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Ag Days Teach Kids About Food, Fiber
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“Tank,” a shire horse, gets plenty of petting from students at Ag Day while his owner, presenter A.J. Kanz of Independence Farm, talks to the kids about early farm practices and the types of equipment used for draft horses. - photo by Dawn M. Henley
Sierra View and Magnolia elementary schools held their annual Ag Day Roundup events on April 22. These agriculture appreciation days are to help students understand the importance of agriculture in their everyday lives and to create more awareness, especially since Oakdale is such a large Ag area.
“The grocery store doesn’t magically make all the food we eat,” said Sierra View chairperson Diane Dickson in a memo to teachers. “Farmers grow the things we need for our food and fiber for our clothes. The main purpose for elementary school Ag Days is to remind children, and everyone, that we can’t forget to keep our farmland available and we must support and preserve our state’s great agricultural economy.”
The two schools each hosted over 30 presenters, including outdoor exhibits with animals for students to touch, such as horses and pigs, and also to see animals perform special work, such as dogs herding sheep. Each grade level had several presenters where the classes were on a rotation to hear each speaker. Every classroom had a presenter inside, as well, to talk about topics ranging from cheese and plant production, to animal care and veterinary medicine, brand inspection, railroad safety, soil science, and many other areas.
Presenters talked to the students about what their jobs entail and also gave the kids an opportunity to ask questions and see special types of farm equipment.
Dickson, a second grade teacher at Sierra View, along with teacher Nancy Osmundson at Magnolia, were the original organizers of Ag Day, first held at Magnolia Elementary for several years. It has grown to include all elementary schools in the district. Cloverland and Fair Oaks hold their Ag Days in the fall.