Children learn about animals and safety on Ag Field Day
By D Yvonne Folkerson
MANTI— The Sanpete County Farm Bureau staged its 21st annual Ag Field Day at the Sanpete County Fairgrounds last week for more than 400 third graders.
Students learned about agriculture, the importance of education and safety from members of the Manti, Gunnison and North Sanpete high school Future Farmers of America (FFA), local Farm Bureau leaders, USU Extension representatives and community members.
“It’s a great partnership. It’s a great program and not just for Sanpete County,” said Matt Palmer, director of USU Extension in Sanpete County.
“These youth will be making policies and decisions into the future. It’s important to work together to teach youth who will become our leaders.”
The Ag Day program was initiated by Cindy Yardley more than two decades ago to show third graders how agriculture affects their daily lives.
“A lot of times, people think if they don’t live on a farm, they have no connection to agriculture,” she said. “But everything from the food they eat, to the clothing they wear, to the timber for their house comes from some form of agriculture.”
Each year the program follows a similar setup. Students arrive, put on aprons and pick up baskets. They visit stations set up in fairground buildings where they learn about the five “F”s of agriculture: farming, forestry, food, flowers and fabric.
“The kids rotate through a series of classes, activities and presentations,” explained Amie Olsen, chairwoman of this year’s event.
Presentations cover sheep, beef, turkeys, dairy, seeds and the importance of agriculture and farm safety.
“The kids especially love the sheep presentation where they get to see sheep sheared,” Yardley said.
There was also a station this year where students planted a seed, harvested plastic fruit or vegetables, then turned in their crops for pretend money.
At the end of the activity, the students were allowed to purchase something from the Ag Store or learned to save through representatives of Cache Valley Bank.
“In the afternoon we had two ladies from Cache Valley Bank come in and teach the kids about saving money,” said Wendy Christofferson, a teacher at Ephraim Elementary School. “They did a math activity with the kids and gave each child a piggy bank so they could start saving.”
Darrel and Corrine Olsen of Ephraim took children through their Fun-on-the-Farm exhibit. Children visited mock setups where they pulled wool, roped dummy steers and learned about raising meat and eggs.
A.J. Ferguson, a vice president of the Utah Farm Bureau, presented a safety demonstration on how to get safely into and out of tractors.
Ferguson demonstrated the dangers of ‘playing’ on tractors by throwing a straw dummy onto the power take off (PTO) of a tractor.
“It makes quite the impression as straw is thrown for a dozen yards each side,” Darrel Olsen said.
Organizer Cindy Yardley estimates that more than 9,000 students have attended Ag Day at the Sanpete County Fairgrounds in the past two decades.