And therein lies one of the reasons for Agriculture Adventures Day for area fourth-graders which takes place annually at the Scioto County Fairgrounds in Lucasville. This year's event happened Thursday.
“We're showing them that agriculture is a part of everyone's life, or as Bill Lewis, who handles the hayrides, always says, ‘Agriculture is a part of everyone's life because everyone has to eat,” said Pat Pekar, of the Farm Bureau Federation.
Livestock, snakes, bees making honey, how apples grow and how to read the labels of products on the shelves of grocery stores, were all places the children visited. Each was a learning experience.
Rachel Skeens said she wanted to see “everything,” Silvana Avila wanted to “see all the different types of animals, and to learn,” and Courtney Bradford had her sights set on the horses.
Leanne Fuhrman is the Ag Adventure Day coordinator.
“Myself and the Scioto County Farm Bureau, we work together with OSU Extension to start planning. Then we get a lot of community support by donations and other things to put together. The T-shirts, of course, we have to arrange all of our speakers and presentations to make it unique from year to year so that the teachers can learn more every year,” Fuhhrman said.
Academics are an important part of the day.
“This is geared toward the proficiency test,” said Kim Harless, of the Ohio Farm Bureau organization. “Because of the concentration on the test, these kids don't get to take many field trips, so we combine the information that they will get on their test with a fun experience.”
“This takes a lot of work, but it's very rewarding. It is something that is very vital to our industry in agriculture,” Fuhrman said. “Not very many people, especially youth nowadays, are familiar with the agriculture industry, and this is our way to help educate them about life in general, that it revolves around agriculture. It also helps them with their studies in school and on their proficiency test, because we do cover topics related to that.”
It was a family affair for Fuhrman, whose family is in the fruit orchard business.
“I get the opportunity to show kids where apples come from. They start with a plant, and as the pollination occurs, then the ovary becomes the apple,” said Paul Fuhrman.
Stormy Williams, of McDermott, showed her Enden goose to the children.
“I let the children pet ‘Cody', and I get to tell them about him.”
Larry Arthur, of Franklin Furnace, had two brown llamas and one white llama at one station.
“They are the gentlest animals and can be used so many ways. I have 20, and have had as many as 40 of them. They can pull carts, and carry packs from 80 to 100 pounds,” Arthur said. “I show the children that they have pads on their feet so they don't tear up the terrain, where they are used.”
One of the most popular stops on the trip around the shelter was the area where Jenny Richards, naturalist at Shawnee State Park displayed the snakes.
“I brought five different snakes out,” Richards said. “Most were rescued from kids who decided they didn't want a pet snake after all.”
Leanne Fuhrman said she was able to coordinate with Regina Kuhn and Jo Williams of the Ohio State University Extension Service to plan the event.
And when the day is over? “Basically, we'll start planning this event for next year tomorrow,” Leanne Fuhrman said.
FRANK LEWIS can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 232.