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School days set at county fair

School Day at the Crawford County Fair will be held for two days this year to accommodate all school districts.

School Day at the 2012 fair was a bit hectic, with more than 1,000 people in attendance that day, said Nickie Harding with the Crawford County Cooperative Extension Service.

This year the “day” will be held for two consecutive days - Wednesday, Sept. 11, and Thursday, Sept. 12 - in order to better educate area kids on agriculture, Harding said.

Sessions will be available each day from 9-10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. An additional session of 1-2:30 p.m. will be added if necessary, Harding said.

At least one, possibly two, exhibits with six educational stations each will be set up on the grounds in front of the entrance to the fair, located at Kirksey Park in Mulberry, she said.

At each station, kids will learn about different aspects of agriculture. The six stations will be beef, goats, sheep, bees, poultry and swine, and animal welfare.

A representative from Southwest Dairy will be on hand to give live demonstration of milking a cow and will talk about dairy products, Harding said.

Kids will learn about each animal, of course, but they also will learn about all the byproducts that are made from that animal, Harding said.

Harding and Michelle Buchanan, both extension agents for Crawford County, also wanted to include the animal welfare station to combat what she called the “negative publicity” that children may see in the media.

There are misconceptions about how animals raised for production are treated, Harding said.

“You have these farmers, where that’s their livelihood, that’s how they survive,” Harding said. “They treat their animals just like they’re part of the family.”

Agents in the animal welfare station will teach kids about the treatment and care of each animal, she said.

Kids will get an opportunity to tour the home economics building, livestock barns and a combine simulator before or after their session, Harding said.

“No one lives on a farm anymore, so we want to provide a better understanding of about where the things come from that they use every day, from the clothes they wear to the pencil’s that they use in school,” Harding said. “Everything we use pretty much relates to agriculture.”

According to a letter from the extension agency to area school districts, less than 3 percent of the national population is directly involved in agricultural production.

Even in a rural county such as Crawford, many children lack knowledge about where their daily food comes from, Buchanan said.

“There are more kids in this county that do not know where their food comes from than that does,” Buchanan said.

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