Craig students cowed by Moffat County Cattlewomen’s Agriculture Day
Area fourth-graders had a memorable day outside the classroom horsing around and learning about all aspects of agriculture at the annual Moffat County Cattlewomen’s Ag Day.
Dozens of students from Sunset and Ridgeview elementary schools and the Moffat County Christian Academy arrived at the Moffat County Fairgrounds on May 2 to take part in a 30-year-old tradition.
“Our theme for the day is that you just can’t have an ag-less day,” Cattlewoman Chris Rhyne said. “We hope it will make the students stop and think about not only the food they eat, but some of the products they use and how close it hits to home for some of those kids who live in rural areas.”
With the help of presenters from the Yampa Valley Electric Association, the Natural Resource Service and a group of dedicated FFA volunteers from Moffat County High School, the Cattlewomen hosted a day-long hands-on agricultural learning experience for dozens of children.
In addition to a wide variety of exhibits — including electricity, agricultural by-products, discerning grass-fed from organic meats, water conservation, farm tractors, ATV safety, horses, milking cows, and animal health — the Cattlewomen added an additional exhibit to teach children about the importance of working dogs.
Outside the pavilion, students watched as volunteers at the working dog exhibit showcased the power of canine noses and their ability to be trained to save lives.
Inside the fairground pavilion, the students had a blast learning how to rope a faux plastic bull and milk a “cow” — rather a cow-print painted bucket with nipples.
Annabelle, a 5-year-old Jersey cow, and her 3-month-old calf, cheered students on with persistent vocal “moos” as they attempted the milking exhibit.
“She’s saying she wants to go home,” Roberta Hume said with a laugh. “But she’s just such a good cow. Jerseys are known for being so sweet. We sure do enjoy them.”
Across from the milking exhibit, Waffles, a 1-year-old miniature Hereford, garnered a lot of attention from a slew of school children.
“They think it’s a bull because it has horns,” MCHS freshman and FFA volunteer Jentry Bacon said.
Sarah Bacon, a frequent Cattlewomen volunteer, said the fourth-graders always get a kick out of petting the animals.
“I’ve been doing this for quite a few years and the kids always like to pet them,” Sarah said. “I like to pet them too. We have new babies at home, and I just want to pet them.”
Sarah stressed the importance of teaching children early about agriculture.
“We always try to promote the importance of agriculture — especially in this community it is huge,” she said. “They need to realize a lot of the ranchers live off of the ag industry, it’s their income.”
FFA student volunteers Reina Steele, Jolene Rhyne, Aliceson Jones and Bryson Davis educated students about the many products produced by goats.
“A lot of the kids came by and asked them what animal it was, some called them a sheep, and we had to correct them and tell them it’s a goat,” Reina Steele said. “That’s when I realized a lot of them haven’t actually seen livestock animals in real life.”
Not too long ago, the same student FFA volunteers said they remembered taking a memorable fourth-grade field trip to the Cattlewomen’s Ag Day.
“I’m really glad the Cattlewomen puts this on,” Davis said. “I think it’s so important to educate these kids about agriculture because it’s one of the most important things in life. Too often farmers and ranchers are in the shadows, because there’s such focus on doctors, lawyers, but these guys are the real troopers and soldiers that make America great.”