Ag on display: Field trip gives elementary students new appreciation for local agriculture |

Ag on display: Field trip gives elementary students new appreciation for local agriculture

Chris Rhyne presents an animal by-product fact or fiction game to local fourth graders at Ag Day on Thursday at the Moffat County Fairgrounds.
Amber Delay/Craig Press

Fourth graders from elementary schools in Craig and Maybell gathered Thursday at the Moffat County Fairgrounds to learn the ins and outs of local agriculture practices.

The fourth grade Ag Day originally started with CSU Extension until Moffat County Cattlewomen Association took the lead. The Cattlemen’s Association has been sponsoring this youth education event for decades.

“It takes a lot of people to make this happen,” said Chris Rhyne, a Cattlewomen’s member and event organizer.

The event hosted fourth graders from Moffat County Christian Academy, Ridgeview Elementary, Sandrock Elementary, Sunset Elementary as well as all grades from Maybell Elementary.

Middle and high school 4-H leaders helped support the event by escorting elementary groups around the different stations set up across the fairgrounds.

Event organizer and Cattlewomen Association President Kacey Green explained that children are getting further and further away from knowing the source of their food and products, and that’s what this longstanding event is all about.

“We are showing youth that you can’t go a day without having some kind of agriculture involved,” Green said.

The Cattlewomen had a full day planned for the students to learn how expansive local agriculture is.

Youth started by learning about sustainable grazing practices used locally to preserve the land and raise healthy animals. They also learned about ruminant digestion, and how cows digest the plant material through a four-chambered stomach system.

Youth also learn about all of the different byproducts from animals, many of which are made locally. The Cattlewomen talked with the students about which animals different kinds of meat come from, and their nutritional value.

Local students gather around a beef by-product display to learn more about quality and nutrition of different cuts of meat on Thursday at the Moffat County Fairgrounds.
Amber Delay/Craig Press

The event featured a large display showing the different cuts of meats on a cow. Youth gathered around the display to learn about the different kinds of protein and meat quality that comes from the cow.

Youth filtered throughout the entire fairground campus to the different stations. In the swine barn, there were animals on display. There also was a milking station where the students could practice milking goats using a simulation.

Elementary school students gather around the fiber station on Thursday at the Moffat County Fairgrounds where Lorrae Moon is talking about how wool fibers are produced and sold in the Yampa Valley.
Amber Delay/Craig Press

Under the grandstands, volunteers talked with youth about preventative animal health and what local producers use to keep animals healthy. Lorrae Moon, owner of Yampa Valley Fiberworks, had a loom set up to show youth how fibers and yarns are made from wool.

“Even if we can get one kid who hangs on to this and thinks about it later on, it’s worth it,” Moon said.

Lorrea Moon, owner of Yampa Valley Fiber Works, teaches students about how local fibers are produced. This cotton fiber will later become a dish towel.
Amber Delay/Craig Press

Brad Ocker, brand inspector for Moffat County, attended the event to educate youth on why brands are used and about the branding practices.

The National Resource Conservation Services also hosted a water trailer station where students learned about how streams run throughout the area and how local water supplies are taken care of. There were even antique tractors on display in the fairgrounds parking area for youth to see.

Along with a new understanding of local agriculture, the elementary school students walked away from the all-day field trip with a gift bag containing beef sticks made locally by Brothers meat processing, as well as other animal by-products like crayons provided by the Colorado Beef Council.

The Cattlemen’s Association does other community outreach and education events throughout the year to promote local ag and meat production.

The group sponsors Meat Day to promote local businesses by encouraging local residents to eat or shop at local establishments. Anyone who shops local on Meat Day is entered in a contest to win a cooler full of locally raised meat.

Cattlewomen volunteers also host a booth in Alice Pleasant Park on Meat Day to provide education about local agriculture.

Kelli Wamboldt, a first-year volunteer, sits with Ramona Green, right, who owns a ranch north of Craig and has been volunteering for the Ag Day event for over 20 years.
Amber Delay/Craig Press

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