Getting ready for Ag-Day |

Getting ready for Ag-Day

Diane Prather

— Rain, snow, hail, wind and sunshine – at one time or another, they’ve all been part of the Moffat County Cowbelles’ annual Ag-Day.

As the Cowbelles prepare for Ag-Day 2008, they admit to wondering what this year will bring.

During the past 10 years, the first Friday in May has been designated as Ag-Day, an agriculture awareness day held for Moffat County fourth-graders and teachers at the Moffat County Fairgrounds.

“Agriculture Expo” was the name given for the agriculture awareness day in its beginning, but over the years the name “Ag-Day” has caught on – not to be confused with “Egg-Day,” which is how the word sounds when said aloud.

The objectives for Ag-Day remain the same as they were in the beginning: to make children more aware of the importance of agriculture in their county – and the world – and to let children experience agriculture through presentations and exhibits.

Even though Ag-Day is three months away, preparations are already under way for the event. They begin with a decision about a theme for Ag-Day 2008.

“You Just Can’t Have an Ag-less Day in Moffat County” has been the theme for nearly all of the Ag-Days, although one year the emphasis was on food safety. What will the theme be this year?

The Ag-Day event has grown from solely using the fairgrounds’ pavilion and space under the grandstands to adding the barn for livestock-related presentations and displays.

The day’s events include an orientation and six to eight demonstrations and presentations. During the years they have included spinning, sheep shearing, branding, wildlife predators, our heritage, the food chain, animal by-products, conservation, use of farm equipment and more.

Ag-Day is dependent on the help of community volunteers. Among them are ranchers, people from the Moffat County Extension Office, past and present 4-H and Future Farmers of America members, wildlife officers, the county brand inspector and implement dealers.

Area businesses lend and donate materials and equipment for the day.

Cowbelle members will begin arranging for volunteers to put on the presentations and demonstrations and for those who can lend livestock for the day. Also needed are leaders to take students from one presentation area to another and to keep track of time.

Popular with fourth graders is a wagon ride from the pavilion area to the barn and back. Arrangements have to be made to borrow the tractor, wagon and straw bales that serve as student seats.

Most of the materials for “beef bags,” containing agriculture-related items were ordered from the Beef Council in February.

Cowbelle committee members wrote and made copies of other materials for the students.

Teachers also receive bags of educational activity kits, posters, books and sometimes ready-to-hang bulletin board materials that are made especially for them.

Cowbelle members and sometimes 4-H members bag all these materials – enough for all fourth-graders and fourth-grade teachers in the district.

The orientation program also will be planned. The first Ag-Day’s orientations included a video, prepared by Bill Engler and DeLaine Brown, with the day’s theme as the title. One year, a Power Point presentation prepared and presented by Brown had food safety as its purpose.

In 2007, the students spent 15 to 20 minutes of the orientation in an agricultural bowl contest. The program was planned and presented by Kacey Green.

Ag-Day activities also often include a scavenger hunt, coloring contest and other events that have yet to be planned.

In two weeks, letters concerning Ag-Day will be sent to the fourth-grade teachers.

It’s all about getting ready for Ag-Day 2008.

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