"We decided, we HAVE to do something."
The Lewis & Clark County Farm Bureau hosted their inaugural Ag Day on May 16. More than 140 fourth graders from the East Helena Schools system came to the event. We were able to get a sponsorship from the Montana Farm Bureau office, as well as the Lewis & Clark Conservation District. It was hosted at the Prickly Pear Simmental Ranch just outside of Helena. Here's how they did it:
People are just losing touch with what agriculture is and its importance to the state of Montana and where their food comes from. The lack of agricultural knowledge (both young and old) in urban cities like Helena is alarming. People hear negative comments and misconceptions from a variety of interest groups, and if we don’t try to correct those messages, we will continue to face attacks on agriculture. It is so frustrating that we decided we HAVE to do something. We must promote our agriculture industry, and we thought working with kids is a good start.
Lewis & Clark County board member Jim Dusenberry brought the idea to a board meeting. We as a board discussed the need to bring an agricultural event to the Helena area. We got Duane from Bozeman on a conference call at a board meeting, and he spelled out what they did to get the Gallatin Farm Fair going as well as the lessons learned.
After the call, we decided to give it a go. As a board, we took an idea and made it come to fruition. We did our homework by talking to folks like Duane, who was a huge help in getting us on track up front. We all knew a few folks who could do presentations on various topics, and we able to put together 15 different stations that were agriculture related. Our goal was to education kids about agriculture in general, introduce them to various livestock, as well as grains and crops and give them a hands-on farm and ranch experience.
The East Helena schools met with us early in the planning phase to give us their perspective from the education side. Our primary volunteers and supporters were the Lewis & Clark County Farm Bureau board members and families, the school teachers and a number of parents of students. The Prickly Pear Simmental ranch provided the facilities and expended an enormous amount of time getting things ready for the day.
We just made it happen by working together and pitching in at various stages to get it put together. With no agriculture program or FFA in the Helena school system, it’s becoming more and more apparent the young generation (and older generation for that matter) doesn’t really know where their food comes from. They hear more negative about agriculture than positive, so our Lewis & Clark County Farm Bureau feels we need to make a change and help promote agriculture. Fourth graders are still eager to learn and easy to work with. It was a good fit. Our goal is to continue to promote and support agriculture, and this a good start!
Have an idea or great event happening in your county Farm Bureau?! We'd love to share it with your Farm Bureau family from across the state. Contact your regional manager to ask how to submit!