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Students Attend Annual Hands-on Ag Day

From left: CMES 5th graders Ryleigh Lander, Reagan Gorby and Arionna Frame are amazed Tracy Rine’s Araucana chicken lays green-shelled eggs.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Northern Panhandle Conservation District held the 9th annual Hands on Ag Day at the Marshall County Fairgrounds in Moundsville for all Marshall County 5th grade students from both public and private schools.

Students rotated through 11 stations that cover a specific aspect of agriculture such as soil, water quality, forestry, livestock and more.  The purpose of the Hands on Ag Day was to educate students and provide a better understanding of what agriculture is and how it plays a role in their own lives.

“The day is really unique because students gain firsthand knowledge about different aspects of agriculture in their county,” said Katie Fitzsimmons, NRCS District Conservationist.  “It’s a huge success because of the support from the school department, local agriculture agencies and organizations.  For the kids, it’s important for them to learn about how agriculture actually works and alleviate common misconceptions of where their food comes from.”

Teachers and local FFA Advisors also see the value in having their students participate as attendees and volunteers.  Nicole Shipman is an Agriculture and Plant Systems teacher in addition to serving as the John Marshall FFA Advisor.  Her students assisted at each of the different stations.

“Ag Day is a beneficial learning experiences that both our high school and elementary school students can experience,” Shipman said.  “The high school students interact with professionals of industry and demonstrate leadership by also assisting with the guiding students to the stations.  Some students are even assisting with presentation in their respective career fields including dairy, goats and beef.”

Participating agencies included: NRCS, Farm Service Agency, Northern Panhandle Conservation District, West Virginia Department of Agriculture, West Virginia Conservation Agency, WVU Extension Service, Marshall County Fair, Farm Bureau, Marshall County Commission, John Marshall Future Farmers of America and Marshall County Schools.