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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Agriculture surprises local youth

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Area fourth-graders get a chance to work with dough while learning about grains during the Youth Ag Day at the Clay County Fairgrounds.
It is estimated that there is a whopping 61,269 pizzerias in the United States today.

Those pizzerias all depend on agriculture to help fulfill the desires of the American citizen.

That is why on March 19, area fourth-graders spent part of their day at the Clay County Fairgrounds learning about how agriculture is involved in making the pizza they love to consume.

On that day, a whole host of individuals worked diligently to help educate students about the importance of agriculture throughout their daily life by focusing on how it primarily impacts pizza. There were members from the local FFA Chapter, Clay County SWCD, Clay County Farm Bureau, Clay County Cattlemen's Association, Ceres Solutions, Extension Homemakers, 4-H Volunteers and Extension Staff who enjoyed educating the youth and answering their unique questions. The event was sponsored by First Financial. The fourth-graders started out their journey into understanding agriculture by first learning about soil and soil erosion. From there, they learned about wheat and other grains, tomatoes, meat, cheese, poultry and other livestock, farm safety and farm equipment.

At the different stations that the fourth-graders visited, they were provided with unique chances to learn about agriculture. For example, at the meat station, they learned about how not to cross contaminate meat products. While at the soil station, they learned about the importance of protecting the soil by growing grasses or other vegetation in it. They even got to pretend they were a thunderstorm and see how the water they poured into the soil seeped out into a jar.

Some of the area youth got their first encounter with lifestock including baby chicks, beef cattle, hogs, sheep and goats. While there, they learned that other cultures enjoy pizza toppings not thought as tradition in the U.S., such as minced mutton in India, Majou Jaga (mayonnaise, potato and bacon) in Japan, and Flambee (bacon, onion and fresh cream) in France.

In comparison, in the United States, roughly 36 percent of all the pizza orders are pepperoni, making it America's favorite topping.

At each station, the fourth-graders were given a chance to ask questions to help further their knowledge about agriculture. One fourth-grader was curious as to how to make juice from tomatoes. To answer his question, the group was showed what homeowners use to can their own tomato juice. Some of the other questions asked were how to tell if an egg is safe to eat, will sheep bite, and of course, can I touch the various livestock animals that were there.

Jaclyn Linton lets area fourth-graders get a close encounter with a baby goat during the Youth Ag Day at the Clay County Fairgrounds.
Agriculture is very important to rural and urban communities in many ways. If it wasn't for those dedicated to providing for others, we would not have some of the wonderful products we get from the grocery store, fast food places, and numerous other consumer good providers. Therefore, on Ag Day, volunteers spent some of their valuable time to help inform area youth of the importance of agriculture in hopes that they will better understand and appreciate the farmer they see driving down the road with a planter in the coming weeks.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns about agriculture, horticulture, or natural resources, contact your local Purdue Extension Office at 448-9041 in Clay County or reach me directly at via email at smith535@purdue.edu.

Upcoming opportunities available to you through Purdue Extension include:

* April 7 -- Calf Sale, Owen-Monroe Feeder Auction, 1 p.m.,

* April 12 -- Cow Sale, Owen-Monroe Feeder Auction, 7:30 p.m.,

* April 17 -- Purdue Beef Unit Golden Girls Showcase and Production Sale, West Lafayette, www.purduebeefsale.com,

* April 22 -- Earth Day,

* April 24 -- 2010 Youth Dairy Conference, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Beck Center, West Lafayette. Cost is $15. Contact Kelly Heckaman at 574-372-2340 by April 14 to register, and

* April 26 -- Pond Workshop, Greencastle, 3:30-7 p.m. RSVP to obtain directions to the location by contacting 448-9041.