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Earth Team Showcase—Barton County Kids Ag Day Group

Barton County Kid's Ag DayEvery year, fourth grade students in Rush and Barton counties complete a unit on agriculture and Kansas at their respective schools.  To add to this educational opportunity, the citizens of Barton County and the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce formed an agricultural committee to plan a “Kids Ag Day” event for 400 students.  The idea was to give students a first-hand look at a working farm and all of the many components of agriculture.  Throughout the year, 60 volunteers worked to prepare and implement this event—645 hours total!  For their effort, the Barton County Kids Ag Day Group received the 2015 Kansas Earth Team group award.  They were also selected as outstanding group for the Central Region.

The committee contacted schools, presenters, and media; prepared lunch for volunteers; made name tags for students and teachers; collected educational material to hand out to students; hosted visitors at the event; and coordinated schedules for schools.  Volunteers even came together the night before to prepare the site, load the trailer with straw bales, and set up demonstration sites with tents, tables, chairs, and signage.

Since not all students know about farm life, they are taught the importance of producing high quality, safe, and healthy food.  They also learn where food comes from and the proper treatment of animals.  The Natural Resources Conservation Service presented a program on soil conservation using a Soil Tunnel Trailer where students learned about the living soil.

Developing a Kids Ag Day can provide quite a challenge—but with the support from the local farmers, businesses, county extension office, FFA, Farm Bureau, the Barton County Community College, and the Barton County Conservation District, this event was a community success!