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Published January 20, 2014, 09:29 AM

Third-graders learn food comes from farms

Third-grade students from around North Dakota’s Stutsman County learned a little about cow manure and a lot about all aspects of agriculture at the Ag and Youth seminar Jan. 15. The event was held in conjunction with the Winter Ag Expo at the Jamestown Civic Center.

By: Keith Norman, Forum News Service

Third-grade students from around North Dakota’s Stutsman County learned a little about cow manure and a lot about all aspects of agriculture at the Ag and Youth seminar Jan. 15. The event was held in conjunction with the Winter Ag Expo at the Jamestown Civic Center.

“This isn’t soil, it’s cow poop,” said Mary Berg, an extension agent with the Carrington Research Extension Center, speaking to a group of students from Pingree-Buchanan Public Schools. “But we call cow poop manure.”

Berg had a sealed bag of manure she showed the students but demonstrated how to go about taking a manure sample with a pile of Tootsie Rolls.

“We measure the nutrients in the manure to know what’s in it,” she said. “Then we put it on the fields to help grow crops we can feed to the livestock to produce food and produce more manure.”

Berg handed out Tootsie Rolls to the students as they moved to the next learning station in the program. Each group of 10 to 12 students spent 8 minutes at each station learning different facets of agribusiness.

“It is a very receptive group,” said Dana Hagar, from the North Dakota Department of Agriculture. “A lot of the kids have had exposure to farms but are still surprised by some of the products that come from agriculture.”

The Department of Agriculture station showed students the different crops raised in North Dakota and the foods produced from those crops.

Hagar said she first asked the students what their favorite food was. Although answers such as shrimp or salmon sometimes posed a problem, most other foods mentioned by the students are produced in North Dakota.

“We want to help them understand where their food comes from,” Hagar said. “It is important they know where the food comes from, not just the grocery store.”

Other stations showed students how insects pollinate crops, the various cuts of meat from a pig and how honey is produced.

“We’re here to promote honey and the things it does,” said Liz Peterson of Browning’s Honey. “They like to see and feel the honey.”

One of the final stations in the program dealt with careers in agriculture in North Dakota and was hosted by the Stutsman County Extension Office.

“The No. 1 industry in North Dakota is agriculture,” said Lindsey Novak, Stutsman County Extension agent. “The jobs range from ag banker to extension agent to farmers and veterinarians.”

Lily Bohl and Joshua Thomas, third-graders at Pingree-Buchanan, said they wanted to work in agriculture when they grew up.

“I want to be a rancher because I like to move animals,” Lily said.

Lily said her favorite part of the program was learning about the careers available in agriculture. Joshua said his favorite part was learning about bees.

“The boy bees don’t have stingers,” he said.

This is the second year the Ag and Youth program has been held as part of the Winter Ag Expo. About 200 students went through the program. The event was sponsored by the Department of Agriculture, North Dakota Farmers Union, North Dakota Farm Bureau, NDSU Carrington Research Center, Browning’s Honey, Farms International Certification Services and the Stutsman County Extension Service.

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