Last week in Johnson County was spent celebrating agriculture and agricultural education! While my family is immersed in it – figuratively and literally – every day of the year, not everyone is that lucky.
We participate in several different events during the week, but sharing our lifestyle and love for agriculture with those not involved daily is an honor. Our Extension Service goes to great lengths to put together an event that makes this possible, called "Farm Animal Days," for 4th graders in Johnson County.
During the event, all 4th grade classes in the county are invited to spend a few hours at the Johnson County Fairgrounds learning about agriculture. We have helped out with this program for many years and it has turned into a favorite for my kids.
Casey, my oldest daughter, has been helping for years. She loves talking with kids about how important agriculture is to everyone.
This year I let go of the reins, and while I washed hog barns, my girls gave the presentations to hundreds of 4th graders. I love that they have the knowledge and skills to share how and why we raise hogs.
"It never fails that when I ask why we raise hogs at least one kid says for beef," Casey told me the other day. "Sometimes I can't believe how little the general public knows about production agriculture."
That's why it’s important to share the message of agriculture to young children, too. There are six stations set up in Scott Hall that teach the kids about various products raised in Johnson County, and then a trip out to the barns allows them to see and talk with farmers and their livestock, including dairy and beef cows, goats, lambs, just hatched chicks and, of course, pigs.
"I had the honor of talking to almost every 4th grader in Johnson County about pigs. Sure they were easily distracted by anything that breathes and poops but I did my best to make sure they took away some information. The way I see it, even if the kids didn't take much away from it, they were at least exposed to the world of agriculture," Casey said.