Lessons from the farm
By KRISS NELSON
MASON CITY – The annual Cerro Gordo County Farm Bureau Ag Fair allowed 455 first and second grade students from the county to experience everything agriculture.
Linda Anderegg, with the Cerro Gordo County Farm Bureau, said students from Clear Creek Elementary, Harding Elementary, Hoover Elementary, Jefferson Elementary, Roosevelt Elementary, Newman Elementary, West Fork Elementary and North Iowa Christian schools were given the opportunity to visit 14 stations, allowing them to touch and learn all about sheep, pigs, horses, calves, llamas, alpacas, baby chicks, tractors and more.
“There were also stations covering nutrition, conservation and recycling,” she said. “All of the different stations included hands-on activities so kids can learn about agriculture in a fun way.”
Anderegg said the Cerro Gordo County Farm Bureau Ag Fair has been a part of teaching young students about agriculture for at least 15 years.
“It’s just a wonderful way for Iowa kids to actually get to see Iowa agriculture,” she said. “Most of them are urban kids, but even the rural schools don’t know much about agriculture anymore. They actually get to learn, touch and see that there are lives animals.”
“They learn what comes from the animals, so they know the sheep gives us wool, pigs give us meat. They are learning where their food and fiber comes from and we think that’s important because we are in Iowa.”
Anderegg said she is very appreciative of her volunteers.
“They are awesome,” she said. “They also feel it is important that the kids learn this so they are willing to help. It costs a little bit to put this on, so the Cerro Gordo County Farm Bureau provides the money so we can do this.”
Volunteers include students from the West Fork FFA chapter, North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC) agricultural students, Cerro Gordo ag in the classroom presenters and others.
“It’s just a wonderful way for Iowa kids to actually get to see Iowa agriculture,” she said. “It’s just a huge event and much needed in our area.”
NIACC student Jacey Goodale was on hand helping students learn more about baby chicks.
“We let the kids hold them and we talk to them about how a chick develops in the eggs,” she said.
Nick Chambers, another NIACC student volunteer, helped man the pork station.
“We give them the opportunity to get up and close with a pig,” he said. “A lot of kids are saying it is their first time getting up and close to a pig. This has been pretty cool to do this.”
Eli McCleish enjoyed his time on the tractor that was on display.
“I learned they are big,” he said. “It’s been 2016 since I was on a tractor.”
Jana Wegner, a second grade teacher with West Fork Elementary School, believes the lessons her students learn at the Cerro Gordo County Farm Bureau Ag Fair last a lifetime.
“It’s a good experience for the kids,” she said. “Especially the town kids that don’t get these experiences every day. I had student tell me she has never seen these animals before.”
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