Youths experience agriculture

EAGLE GROVE – More than 200 area fifth graders had the opportunity to be immersed in something that affects their lives this week: agriculture.

Students from St. Edmond, Prairie Valley, St. Paul Lutheran and Community Christian, all of Webster County, participated in the 18th annual Environmental Agriculture Days at the Wright County Fairgrounds in Eagle Grove Tuesday, Wednesday and today.

The program is developed and sponsored by Iowa State University Extension Region 7, which is comprised of Hamilton, Webster, Wright and Humboldt counties.

St. Edmond, St. Thomas of Webster City, Clarion-Goldfield and Stratford students participated in Wednesday’s session on a breadth of topics, including 21st Century Agriculture, Why Water; Energize Your Future; Now and Then; Food, Fiber, Fuel; Sun Smart; and From Farm to You. Each half-hour workshop focused primarily on science and agriculture and how it plays a role in everyday lives.

“We try to keep everything focused on ag and science,” said Phil Heckman, Region 7 Extension youth program specialist. “We’ve been doing this for 18 years and even as the years go on not all the kids understand agriculture; they don’t make all of the connections.”

During the Why Water session, participants watched as a faucet of water was left running on a water table meant to simulate streams, rivers, farms and land, and they witnessed what waterflow can do over time. After much of the sand and soil was eroded away, students rebuilt the land in ways that might better prevent erosion and contamination.

Grant Roose, a St. Thomas fifth-grader, said he enjoyed the water activity best, but learned a lot at the 21st Century Agriculture workshop.

“I didn’t know sugar couldn’t dissolve in alcohol,” said Roose.

Everette Beach, a fifth-grader at Stratford Elementary School, said he learned something about various chemicals and safety.

“We learned a lot about chemicals and poisons and stuff and what you should stay away from,” said Beach.

“I thought the water one was really cool,” said Devin Cook, also a fifth-grader at Stratford.

Although the sessions change and evolve with agriculture and modern science, one session and presenter that has been present all 18 years for Ag Day is the Sun Smart session presented by Cheryl Entriken with Hamilton County Extension.

“When we first started sun safety was really a brand new topic,” said Entriken. “We try to adapt and make changes as ag and technology evolve.”