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Kids Ag Day and Agricultural Literacy
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School is back in session and in Barton County that means it’s time for the Annual Kid’s Ag Day for area fourth graders. The event takes place this Wednesday, Sept. 3, at the Brining Farm just west of Great Bend. This event has taken place now for over 20 years and works to improve the agricultural literacy of children in Barton County. Everyone from the Chamber of Commerce and area businesses to the Barton County Farm Bureau and area farmers help plan and lend a hand. FFA students from GBHS and Ellinwood bring their animals on their own dime and provide a petting zoo while discussing their livestock. This event was recognized this August by the Kansas Farm Bureau for its excellence and contributions to the agricultural community.
As has been stated here before, it may seem unnecessary in as agricultural an area as this but the reality is that even here many children, and adults, are basically illiterate about agriculture. This work by many isn’t entirely unselfish. Agriculture realizes the importance of this effort for several reasons. So much so these types of events have sprung up not just all over Kansas but the entire country. What are the “selfish” reasons for events like this?
• The agriculture industry needs intelligent, dedicated people to choose the production and processing of food, fiber, and fuel as a career. To do that people need to understand what agriculture is and just as importantly, what it isn’t and just how many opportunities there are for young people in the industry.
• Understanding how food is produced, where it comes from, and just what it takes to go from the field to the table improves awareness of just how complex and challenging production agriculture is.
• There is a great deal of misinformation everywhere about food production. For many years it was pretty much a shrill, one-sided conversation with agriculture on the defensive. This was especially true with the advent of the internet and social media. What better way to respond to these attacks than to show young people what you actually do.
• An event like this provides children an opportunity to be outside and experience, at least a little, what producers experience – working with and sometimes against nature to produce food, fiber, and fuel.  
• People in agriculture tend to love what they do, are committed to their profession, and want to share their passion for their industry and way of life.  
As we all enjoy this Labor Day Weekend, mark the official end of summer, and put away our white shoes and belts, remember that while you are relaxing, farmers and ranchers are probably working while most of us relax.