Eight Minnesota FFA chapters, commodity groups and farm businesses brought agriculture to metro-wide third graders last week during the annual Urban Ag Day event held at the Minnesota State Fair.
More than 1,000 students from Minneapolis and St. Paul schools had the opportunity to learn more about farm production.
Urban Ag Day organizer Natasha Mortensen said this was the eighth year for the event, which originally started with the Morris FFA when she was an ag teacher there. The event grew in popularity and participation, and in 2015 it was moved to the state fairgrounds.
Students had an up-close and personal look at swine, beef and dairy cattle, dairy goats and sheep in the CHS Miracle of Birth Center brought by volunteers. They climbed in and out of farm machinery brought by the Midwest Machinery Company. And they stopped at several educational stations with interactive activities that helped them better understand food and farming, such what cows eat and how their diet is similar to the human diet; how to grow food; how the water cycle works; and how science and technology are used in agriculture.
Mortensen gave a special shout-out to first-time supports Culver’s and Midwest Machinery. Culver’s provided custard to all students on the first day of the event. She also thanked the University of Minnesota College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences animal science department for helping with livestock.
Additional Urban Ag Day partners were AgCentric, Ag Country Farm Credit Services, Como Park High School, Dassel-Cokato FFA & FFA Alumni, Glencoe-Silver Lake FFA, Hancock FFA, Midwest Dairy Association, Minnesota Ag in the Classroom, Minnesota Beef Council, Minnesota Boer Goat Association, Minnesota Pork Producers, Minnesota Turkey Growers, Morris Area FFA, Northarvest Bean Growers, Randolph FFA, Riverview, LLP, Spark-Y, Stevens County FFA Alumni, Tracy Area FFA, West Central Cattlemen’s Association and West Central Area FFA.