Learning was the focus at the recent Ag Discovery Adventure held at the E. V. Smith Research and Extension Center near Shorter. But judging from the smiles on participants’ faces, Ag Discovery Adventure was a lot of fun as well.
More than 700 visitors saw a diverse display of how 21st century agriculture works in Alabama.
“The idea originated from a survey that the Alabama Cooperative Extension System conducted among leadership of commodity groups in the state,” says Dr. Paul Mask, assistant director of agriculture, forestry and natural resources for ACES.
The survey revealed that educating kids and their parents about agriculture and commodities in the state would generate a better understanding of the processes involved in bringing products to the market, whether it is milk, cotton or grains.
Extension specialists and Auburn University College of Agriculture faculty and students explained topics as diverse as precision farming to dairy production to pest management on the farm.
“Ag Discovery Adventure brought the College of Agriculture, the Alabama Agriculture Experiment Station, and ACES—three arms of Auburn University together to create the event,” says Dr. Paul Patterson, associate dean and professor in the College of Agriculture. “ACES and AAES work with producers throughout the year. The College of Agriculture hosts events for high school students.”
This is the first time we aimed for the broader public. Our objective was to reach moms and dads who want to know where their food comes from,” adds Patterson.
Mask and Patterson called the inaugural Ag Discovery Adventure a great success.
“It was great to see the excitement on young people’s faces as they held a baby chick for the first time and to see them marvel at how cotton goes from the field to become their blue jeans,” says Mask.
In addition to a wide variety of hands-on learning opportunities, Ag Discovery Adventure visitors had the chance to test their knowledge by playing “Are You Smarter Than A Farmer?” Participants used clickers to answer questions about agriculture.
Major sponsors for the inaugural Ag Discovery Adventure were the Alabama Cotton Producers, Alabama Soybean Producers and Alabama Wheat and Feed Grain Producers, Alabama Farmers Federation, Alabama Poultry and Egg Association, Alabama Cattlemen’s Association, and Alabama Agribusiness Council, SunSouth, Atlantic and Southern Equipment, Y102 and Cumulus Broadcasting, Circle L Farms, Double C Precision Ag, Inc., Ted Kretschmann, Kudzu Rock Farms, Baleigh Mosely, Pioneer Seed, Southwest Dairy Producers of America, and Southeast United Dairy Industry Association, Inc.
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