Fourth grade students from Clinton Primary School got a peek at farm life and learned about agriculture and food production during the third annual Hempstead County Kids’ Ag Day at the University of Arkansas Southwest Research and Extension Center.
The third annual event was conducted in cooperation with the Hempstead County Extension office of the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Southwest Arkansas Beekeepers Association and the Hempstead County Farm Bureau.
“Fourth graders from Clinton Primary and Garrett Memorial Christian School visited eleven different ag and nature stations,” Terrie James, Hempstead County Extension agent, said.
James said volunteers from the Hempstead County Master Gardeners and Hempstead County Extension Homemakers aided SWREC and Extension Service employees in conducting the program.
“The County Extension office revised the program that was done many years ago,” she said. “It is needed now more than ever to help educate youth about the importance of agriculture in their lives.”
Exhibits and hands-on displays featured fur and skull identification of animals native to Arkansas; the process of beekeeping; and, live farm animals such as pig, goat, lamb, cow, baby chicks, and rabbits, along with the AGFC traveling aquarium, James said.
The students were also treated to a hay ride to the SWREC pond, where they were given an opportunity to try their hand at cane pole fishing.
Students got a taste of working on a farm by “driving” the harvest combine simulator and “milking” the cow milking simulator provided by the Farm Bureau.
“Some students touched farm animals for the first time; others caught their first fish; some shelled their first fresh pecan; and, a few happily observed,” she said. “But, overall, these kids truly enjoyed their experience.”
The University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana provided tote bags for take home items given the students, and SWREC employees provided lunch.
James said the day was a considered success, based upon student reactions.
“One excited kid shouted, ‘This is the best field trip ever,’” she said.