Some 700 students from Winn, Jackson and Grant parishes are expected to rotate through a three-day program on Agricultural Awareness on the mornings of Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of the Winn Parish Fair next week.
While the students may understand the program’s purpose, many adults may not so the Journal asked LSU Ag Center agents Donny Moon and Karen Shirley to explain:
“What Ag Awareness does is bring agriculture and natural resources to the kids on a day-to-day basis, helping them understand the farm-to-table process that feeds our country,” said Moon. “It’s pretty amazing that only 2% of the people in our nation today are involved in the farming sector yet they feed the people of America. That’s our focus.”
The ag leaders see that students don’t quite understand the “how and why” of the farm system and have devised a five-stage program that gives students a brief hands-on experience. Moon emphasized that this is more of a “taste” rather than a “training.” The entire program will take place in the livestock barn area on the hill within the fairgrounds.
A complete session takes about an hour, with students rotating through five different stations for some ten minutes each, plus a little transition time to the next station.
The first station is a petting zoo where children learn a little about animal species. Second is built around wildlife and timber. “It’s important,” said Moon, “since 92% of Winn’s land area is timber. They also hear that regulated hunting if a good management tool for our wildlife.” Third station is plant/science, with a fun demonstration showing corn that is grown here that is then popped for the students. At the fourth station, students will make bracelets out of pipe cleaners, with each color representing a different component of the agricultural community. The final station will be a demonstration of digestion and how foods benefit the body.
A proud statement from the LSU Ag Center agents was that neither Moon nor Shirley will be handling these training sessions. Instead, that preparation and training will be directed by local 4-H and FFA Junior Leaders, the older students who have come up through the programs to be thoroughly trained and trusted to carry out missions they receive.