Hundreds of fourth graders from across Buena Vista County learned about combines and food supply chains on Tuesday and Wednesday, as they participated in a daylong event meant to help them gain a greater appreciation about agriculture and how it affects their lives.
Students from each fourth grade class in the county descended on the Buena Vista County Fairgrounds in Alta for AgCiting... Making the Ag Connection, an annual event designed to give pupils a better idea of the role agriculture plays in society today. Nine classes took part in seven activities on Tuesday; eight more classes traveled to Alta on Wednesday.
Ag professionals engaged students in 30-minute hands-on sessions on subjects ranging from heavy machinery to the use of Global Positioning System technology on farms, and Rhonda Christensen of ISU Extension said it was important for pupils living in Iowa to know more about farm life.
"We live in rural communities that are tied to agriculture, but there aren't a lot of students who are on farms anymore," Christensen said. "Even though they don't live on farms they do have connections to agriculture just by living in this area, and we want to help them learn to appreciate agriculture more."
Area teachers incorporated agricultural-based games and videos in their lesson plans over the past few weeks to prepare students, and took part in many of the activities with the children.
"I think this has been successful over the past few years, and a large part of that has come from the hands-on nature of it," Christensen said. "I think the students really like that."
AgCiting was sponsored by Iowa State University Extension with support from AgPartners and the Iowa Farm Bureau.