Ag Awareness Festival

10:00 am–1:40 pm
Agricultural Research & Development Center, near Mead
UNL ARDC, 402-624-8000,
<p><strong>Festival to teach 4th graders about agriculture</strong></p>
<p>With continued urban growth, many youth do not have as much exposure to agriculture as in the past. Many communities are losing touch with Nebraska’s greatest resource - agriculture. An upcoming ag awareness festival will provide an opportunity for youth to take a close-up look at agriculture. </p>
<p>The festival will be held at the University of Nebraska’s Agricultural Research and Development (ARDC) near Mead, Nebraska on October 7,8,9, and 10. It is aimed at 4th grade students. Omaha schools and surrounding schools attending this year include: </p>
<p>While at the festival, students will learn about beef, dairy, grains, and swine. Production, technology, and products in agriculture are covered. </p>
<p>The first Agricultural Awareness Festival was held at the University of Nebraska Agricultural Research and Development (ARDC) near Mead, Nebraska in October 1996 with 200 Omaha Public School sixth grade students attending. Since that time, the festival has grown to multiple days and is now aimed at fourth-graders. The event educates approximately 650-900 students primarily from Douglas, Saunders, and Dodge Counties each year in the fall. <br />
An additional Lincoln festival was added in 2001 at the Lancaster County Event Center. Lancaster County and York County youth have attended. </p>
<p>To date, over 12,000 youth have attended the festival sponsored by the Ag Awareness Coalition and over 650 are expected to attend this fall’s festival.</p>
<p>Evaluations from teachers attending in the past have noted the following impacts on their students: </p>
<p>The festival made the students from the city aware of how much agriculture is a part of their lives. </p>
<p>Students saw and experienced different kinds of agriculture, which helped them understand how dependent we are on it. </p>
<p>Students were introduced to the contributions that Nebraska farming and ranching make to the global economy. </p>
<p>Funding, resources, and sustainability… </p>
<p>Over twenty agriculture businesses, commodity associations, food industry companies and University of Nebraska Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources (IANR) departments have provided support to the Ag Awareness Coalition since its start in 1995. Individual support has ranged from $6,750 grant dollars to volunteer time at the festival, totaling over $30,000 in grant dollars and in-kind donations. In-kind donations do not include volunteer time and expenses. </p>
<p>Current ag awareness sponsors include: Agriculture in the Classroom, Dairymen of Nebraska, Douglas County Farm Bureau, Farmers National Company, Gifford Farm Education Center, Midwest Dairy Association, Nebraska AgRelations Council, Nebraska Agri Business Club, Nebraska Beef Council, Nebraska Corn Development, Utilization and Marketing Board, Nebraska Pork Producers Association, Nebraska Soybean Board, Omaha Agribusiness Club, Papillion Grange No. 401, University of Nebraska–Lincoln Agricultural Research and Development Center, and University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension in Saunders, Lancaster and Douglas/Sarpy Counties. </p>
<p>Support has been provided in a variety of ways. Local farm implement dealerships have provided display equipment, several food processors have provided free or discounted food products for the students, and area producers have assisted with festival presentations. In addition, the Ag Awareness Coalition members provide many hours of their personal and/or business expense during the planning meetings.</p>
<p>For more information, please contact the University of Nebraska Agricultural Research and Development Center, 402-624-8000. The Agricultural Research and Development Center is a division of UNL’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.</p>

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