Kids’ Ag Day will celebrate its 15th year on Wednesday, Sept. 8, as the event hosts fourth graders from around the county and beyond to learn about the importance of agriculture to their communities and their lives.
It’s safe to say that during that time more than 5,000 9- and 10-year-olds have visited the Ron Koelsch Diamond K and Kevin Mauler Three M farms on rotating years. Koelsch will host this year.
"Even though they are from a rural community, many kids may have never been on a farm," said Jerry Esfeld, Farm Bureau Barton County coordinator. Farm Bureau is a major sponsor of the event.
"In fact, most have never been exposed to what goes on on a farm," Esfeld said.
That’s why she and nearly 100 volunteers are committed to Kids’ Ag Day.
"They are introduced to agriculture and it reinforces its importance to rural America and Barton County. It makes them aware of ag products used in their everyday lives," she said. "It’s a highlight of their fourth-grade year."
The well-organized day ushers more than 350 students from Barton County and Otis-Bison schools through several 20-minute demonstrations. Topics include dairy, crops, pesticides, fertilizers, machinery, irrigation, livestock, conservation, cowboy ways and horse shoeing.
A highlight of the day for most students is the petting zoo. Members of the Great Bend and Ellinwood FFA chapters supply farm animals that children can pet and see up close. Another highlight is the grilled hamburger lunch prepared by Karl Sprague, USD 428 food services director. Snacks are provided by the Barton County Extension Council.
Local businesses also provide funding for the day, Esfeld said.