JASPER — Agriculture is a constantly changing, complex industry, striving to meet the needs and concerns of its consumers and customers.

In celebration of National Agriculture Day, fourth-grade students from Hamilton Elementary School and Corinth Christian Academy participated in “Youth Ag Day” on March 8 at the Hamilton County Arena. This event was coordinated by Greg Hicks, Extension Director of UF/IFAS Extension Hamilton County, in cooperation with Philip Pinello, assistant superintendent of Hamilton County School District.

Approximately 130 youth were bused from their respective schools to the arena where they were divided into groups and rotated through 10 stations by group leaders, to learn about Hamilton County agriculture.

At each station was a knowledgeable volunteer who talked about the commodity located at their station. The stations included Small Animal Production with HCHS Agriculture Students; Dairy/Beef Production, cattle producer Rick Young; Nutrition/Healthy Snacks, Deborah Tannenbaum, Executive Director of Florida Peanut Federation; Peanut Production, Keith Wynn, UF/IFAS Extension Agriculture Agent; Swine Production, Clevie Selph, of Selph Farms and Greg Harden, Florida Farm Bureau; Old Farm Tools, Dean Franklin; Corn Production, Seth Adams; Bee Keeper, Thomas Honey; Forestry, Greg Staten, the County Forester; and Hydroponics, Doug Clayton, HCHS agriculture teacher. The group leaders were FFA members from the local FFA Chapter at the Hamilton County High School.

The students were given a packet of goodies/educational materials donated by the Florida “Ag In The Classroom” Program, Florida Beef Council, Florida Cattlemen’s Association, Florida Dairymen’s Association, Florida Peanut Federation, Florida Peanut Producers Association and the UF/IFAS Extension Hamilton County Office.

Lastly, the youth, teachers and volunteers were served a delicious meal of grilled hot dogs, hamburgers, chips and a drink, sponsored by Nutrien (formerly PotashCorp White Springs). The meal was prepared by the Hamilton County Farm Bureau members: David Goolsby Jr., the Hamilton County Property Appraiser, Westley Deas, Karen Goolsby, Ellen Deas, Tracy Deas and Mary Bembry. Also, Nancy Spearman helped with preparing the meal.

The program was designed to be a fun day, as well as, an educational day for the children. However, the main purpose was to have each child leave with the understanding of how important agriculture is to Hamilton County.

The UF/IFAS Extension Hamilton County Office thanks the Hamilton County Farm Bureau, Nutrien, Hamilton County FFA members, principals, teachers and volunteers that helped make this day a success.

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