Agriculture & Livestock: Ag-Day 2011 approaching |

Agriculture & Livestock: Ag-Day 2011 approaching

Diane Prather

Diane Prather

On May 5, Moffat County fourth-graders, their teachers and community volunteers will gather at the Moffat County Fairgrounds in Craig for the annual Ag-Day, sponsored by the Moffat County Cattlewomen.

It's an annual agricultural awareness event, which had its beginning more than 10 years ago.

In all its years, Ag-Day has been cancelled only once, for a spring snowstorm that would have prevented some out-of-town presenters from attending.

Certainly, Ag-Day has seen all kinds of weather, including wind, hail, sleet, snow, rain and sunshine, sometimes all in the same day. But, fourth-graders have always been good sports, despite bad weather. They just put on their winter clothing and carry umbrellas to get from one presentation area to another.

This year, about 300 fourth-graders from nine classes, divided among county elementary schools, will attend Ag-Day.

Presentations have varied over the years, but the schedule remains the same. So the day is able to accommodate the large number of students, elementary schools are assigned times to visit.

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This year, Ridgeview and Sandrock elementary schools will attend in the morning for one-and-a half hours each and Sunset and East elementary schools will attend together in the afternoon.

Fourth-graders arrive by bus (although East Elementary students sometimes walk) and are seated in the Moffat County Pavilion for a welcome.

As with previous years, students will view a video, "You Just Can't Have An Ag-less Day in Moffat County."

The video, produced by Bill Engler and DeLaine Brown, gives a short history of the Craig area and discusses the importance of agriculture in Moffat County.

Following the video, students are divided into groups, each with a group leader.

The groups rotate among presentations in the pavilion, barn and under the grandstand areas. Always a special treat for fourth-graders is a hayride from the pavilion to the barn and back again to the grandstand area.

This year, the straw bale-covered wagon will be pulled by a tractor driven by Tory VanTassel. The tractor, wagon, and straw bales are lent to Ag-Day.

Students will rotate among six stations/presentations during the day's activities.

When they leave the fairgrounds, students will receive bags of agriculture-related materials, some donated from the Colorado Beef Council.

Cattlewoman Kacey Green explained what is being planned for this year's presentations and demonstrations.

Green will take turns with Chris Rhyne in presenting by-products.

Using a display board, the women will explain how animal by-products are used in making things that we use every day.

Included in the bags the students will take home with them will be some examples of these products, such as erasers, crayons, bubble gum and marshmallows.

County FFA members will be in charge of a horticulture station.

Fourth-graders will use recycled materials to plant seeds. At another station, Ramona Green will present animal care, discussing general health care of agriculture animals, including vaccinations, the use of ear tags and a lot more.

Brands is the topic of another demonstration, in which Moffat County Brand Inspector Brad Ocker and retired Moffat County Brand Inspector Floyd Martin will explain why brands are necessary and present information about branding.

DeLaine Brown will give fourth-graders tips on ATV safety, and Becky Bowland will discuss tack that is used with horses.

As a special treat, some miniature animals will be on display in the fairgrounds barn. Sarah Bacon's miniature horses and Donna Shu's miniature Herefords will be on display, and the women will be there to answer questions about their animals.

Green explained that some lambs and goats will possibly be on display as well, but these plans have not been finalized.

Lunch for all of the Ag-Day volunteers will be provided by the Moffat County Cattlewomen and cooked by Mary Kihlstrom.

Rain or shine, there will be a lot to see and learn at the 2011 Ag-Day.

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