Students participate in ag expo
Rawlins – On April 28, fourth graders from around Carbon County gathered at the Carbon County Fairgrounds to learn about a variety of topics related to traditional and nontraditional agriculture. Topics discussed highlighted the importance of agriculture’s role in providing food, clothing, medicines and a variety of products.
After two years of not being able to hold the event due to COVID-19, the event celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2022.
During the event, students rotated through several stations every 14 minutes. Stations included the following topics: technology in agriculture; beekeeping; soil babies (grass heads); wildlife services; branding; weeds of the West; welding; tools of a vet; water quality; agriculture Olympics; cuts of beef and beef byproducts; beef cattle; horses; and working cowdogs.
Each student spent an equal amount of time at each station to get a feel for different aspects of ranch life and the impacts of agriculture. They were able to see and understand where their food comes from and have a chance to interact with live animals.
“The event offered a variety of topics and was an opportunity to teach kids and get them excited about agriculture,” says Carbon County Administrative Assistant Krista Steiner.
It gave kids who don’t see ranch life on a daily basis an opportunity to learn and the kids who do come from an agriculture background an opportunity to see a different perspective of ag, she explains.
One hundred fifty-four students from a total of six schools participated in the ag expo. Local teachers expressed happiness their kids were given an opportunity to learn about an important aspect of their county and the state of Wyoming.
“While we are a rural county, it is a surprise to know how many students haven’t seen a branding iron, held a rope, thought about the connection between wildlife and or weeds and agriculture,” says Education and National Environmental Policy Act Coordinator Leanne Correll. “Some had never touched a horse before the event. It was an emotional experience for the horse station presenter when one young lady was in tears and elated as she touched a horse for the first time.”
“Both presenter and participant will remember this day to come,” she adds.
Many students who participated in the event are active 4-H members, but even nonmembers participated.
“I love this event because I get to see a lot of my kids who are 4-Hers already, as well as some youth who have been to a one-time 4-H event, and they recognize me and are making the connection,” shares Carbon County University of Wyoming Extension Educator Emily Haver. “I would love for every youth in Carbon County to become a 4-Her, but the real point of this event is to reach all youth with the understanding agriculture touches many aspects of their lives.”
More importantly, she adds, “The things they do every day can impact agriculture and the health of this planet – from water use, to responsible recreation, to local beef, hunting and predator management and so much more,” she adds.
Major co-sponsors included the Saratoga Encampment Rawlins Conservation District, University of Wyoming’s Carbon County Extension office staff, Carbon County Stock Growers, Carbon County Farm Bureau Federation and Snowy Range CattleWomen.
Each student left with a honey stick, beef jerky, marshmallow and gummy candy – all products created in agriculture.
“We were unable to hold the event in 2020 and 2021, so this was our grand, ʽWe’re back’ event,” Haver concludes. “We hope to continue every year like before.”
Brittany Gunn is the editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.