The Gordon County Young Farmers hosted the second-annual, county-wide Ag Day for all 3rd graders in the county school system, as well as Calhoun Primary Kindergarten and 1st grade students.

Almost 600 students visited booths set up by various agriculture related industries. Gordon County Young Farmer members and local agriculture students from Sonoraville High School and Red Bud Middle School served as group leaders to rotate the third graders throughout all ten stations.

Georgia Aquaponic Produce brought an aquaponic model for the students to learn how fish provide the nutrients needed to grow healthy plants. The students were amazed that plants were growing only in the water and enjoyed touching and seeing the plant roots.

North Georgia EMC explained how important electricity is to our farmers and how it is used on the farm. A display was used to show students the dangers of electricity and how to stay safe near electric lines.

Pilgrim’s Pride from Ellijay brought chickens of different ages for the students to hold. This quickly became one of the favorites as students held chicks just a few days old. Company representatives explained the path of the farm to the plate.

While visiting the beef station, students learned how farmers take care of their cattle. The students enjoyed watching footage of the cattle eating and running in the fields.

The local Natural Resources Conservation Service office spoke to the students on the importance of keeping our land and waterways clean. Using a display, local NRCS representatives showed the students how wastes, garbage and spills affect the water needed for our use.

Little Red Barn Mobile Petting Farm brought animals for the students to pet and brush. After a lesson of learning names for female and male farm animals and basic anatomy parts of various animals, the students enjoyed touching a rooster, sheep, goat, pony, piglets, and miniature cows.

The Gordon County Antique Tractor Club brought two John Deere tractors so students could see how tractors have changed throughout the years. Students were given a chance to turn the hand crank on the older model tractor.

Farm Bureau set up a station that focused on dairy cows and the products we enjoy and use every day because of milk. Students made butter and enjoyed sampling their recipe.

While visiting the Georgia Forestry Commission booth, students tried on clothing used by rangers during forest fires, hid under a fire shelter tent, and learned the dangers of playing with fire.

The local extension office explained the importance of good soil and what the different layers of soil look like. Students held balls of different sizes to gain an understanding of soil particles.

Calhoun Primary Kindergarten and first graders were served lunch sponsored by Red Carpet Cattlemen. Students were served hotdogs, juice, crackers, and rice krispy treats while learning about the various agriculture products used to make their lunch possible.

After lunch, the students rotated through six stations. Gordon County 4-H taught the students about goats, while Red Carpet Cattlemen had a calf available for the students to pet. Red Bud Middle School FFA brought chicks hatched in the classroom for the students to hold. The parts of a plant were taught by Sonoraville High School FFA members. Students held plants and flowers as the FFA members pointed out the parts and their importance to the plant. UGA student, Hunter Pruitt, had various wildlife pelts and skulls on hand for the students to feel and learn about. The students learned the importance of needing water to grow our food by Gordon County Extension.

The Gordon County Young Farmers held an Ag Day t-shirt design contest for all Gordon County and Calhoun City 3rd graders. Miley Silva from Sonoraville Elementary and Jada Gonzalez from Tolbert drawings were chosen as the design for the 2018 Gordon County Ag Day t-shirt design.

All schools were given bags with pencils, stickers, coloring sheets and activity books to pass out to all students attending Ag Day. After all rotations were completed, a lunch was provided to all volunteers by the Red Carpet Cattlemen. The event was sponsored by Gordon County Schools, Red Carpet Cattlemen, Little Red Barn Mobile Petting Farm, Payne Farms, RH Welding & Fabrication, Resaca Sun, BBRAC Farms, Rocky Hill Farm, Eagle Color and Blending, First Bank of Calhoun, NorthSide Bank and North Georgia National Bank. Educational material was provided by Pilgrim’s Pride of Elijay, NGEMC, the Dairy Alliance, Georgia Beef, NRCS, Georgia Forestry Commission, and Gordon County Chamber of Commerce.