More to Youth Ag Field Day than meets the eye
Living near a corn field or driving by a few cows in the pasture does not necessarily make one knowledgeable about agriculture. The recent Putnam County Youth Ag Field Day provided opportunity for the county's third- or fourth-graders to experience livestock and grain up close and personally as one might find on a local farm.
Fourth-graders from Bainbridge, Central, Cloverdale, Fillmore, Tzouanakis and home-school groups participated. Groups traveled around the Putnam County Fairgrounds to 16 different stations where presenters had 12 minutes with each group to teach a particular agricultural topic.
Agriculture in Putnam County is serious business and has a storied history. National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) data states the economics of Putnam County agriculture income of more than $160 million while expenses are just over $96 million. This nearly $64 million comprises a significant portion of the local economy.
One of the participating school teachers also stated how relevant this event is for meeting science, social studies and Indiana history standards.
The field day also increases youth awareness about agricultural careers in plant and animal sciences. Dr. Joe Anderson, Purdue Agronomy Department head, stated that the department could more than double its more than 150 plant science students and easily place these additional individuals.
The event served more than elementary grade youth participants in a learning opportunity since youth in local school, FFA and 4-H Junior Leader programs planned and prepared as presenters to teach or lead three-quarters of the stations while other youth served as group guides.
These youth discovered there was more than corn and soybean fields in Putnam County as local and unique agricultural ventures in Putnam County were featured. Local 4-Hers led many stations with additional support from Cloverdale FFA, North Putnam FFA, South Putnam FFA and Area 30 Vocational School students.
Help and assistance of the many adult volunteers, like Rick Woodall who provided pigs from Red Barn Farms and Yvonne Clifford who conducted a wool station, are greatly appreciated. One of the neatest observations of the day is to see 4-H and FFA members bringing animals to the fairgrounds and teaching stations. With so few having connections to agriculture and most being two or more generations from a farm, enabling youth to tell the story of agriculture is hugely important.
Youth shared animal care and responsibility for their sheep, swine, beef, dairy, goat, poultry and rabbits. Cloverdale FFA sponsored and presented a crop-food product match station, a dairy foods station was sponsored and presented by a North Putnam FFA student and longtime standby South Putnam FFA was spectacular with their Aquaculture trailer station and this year added a genetically modified crop station.
Area 30 students this year conducted two stations with one focusing on careers and another featuring food samples entitled "Gate to Plate" to make the food source connection. These youth did a fabulous job presenting their topic and certainly learned valuable life skills from the presentation experience. And the Ag Field Day would never be complete without that cold cup of chocolate milk and freshly popped corn from Putnam County Farm Bureau Inc.
There were nearly 100 volunteers onsite to make the event a huge success. These volunteers were hungry by lunch time and special thanks goes to the Putnam County Ag Day committee in offsetting the lunch cost for the presenters and other volunteers who make the day possible. Also the Putnam County Fair Board is a key sponsor for the event in providing the use of the facility.
April 13-24 -- Putnam 4-H Paper Clover Campaign at Greencastle TSC.
April 21 -- Indiana Personal Property Tax Filings and Assessments webinar, noon-1 p.m. register at ag.purdue.edu/Extension/wia/Pages/webinars.aspx
April 22 -- Gardening Brown Bag -- Growing Herbs, noon-1 p.m., Extension Office
May 4 -- Exploring 4-H meeting, Fairgrounds, 6-7 p.m.
May 5 -- Leader Lesson Conference, Greencastle Middle School, 5 p.m.
May 6 -- Gardening Brown Bag -- Gardening for Pollinators, noon-1 p.m., Extension Office.
May 7 -- Sheep/Goat tagging and retinal scanning for 4-H, Fairgrounds Beef Barn, 8 a.m.-noon.
May 9 -- Junior Leader meeting, Fairgrounds, 7 p.m., officers 6:45 p.m.
May 11 -- Camp counselor training session 1, Fairgrounds, 5-8 p.m.
May 14 -- Purdue Master Gardener plant auction, Putnam County Fairgrounds, 10 a.m.
May 15 -- Due date all online 4-H livestock enrollment (except poultry, rabbit meat pen, steers).
May 15 -- Deadline to enroll in 4-H camp during June 8-11.
May 15 -- Last day to drop or add a 4-H project for 2016.
May 18 -- Camp counselor training session 2, Fairgrounds, 5-8 p.m.
May 20 -- Gardening Brown Bag -- Coping with Wildlife, noon -- 1 p.m., Extension Office.