Agucation always makes me want to be a fifth grader again. Luckily for me, I can choose to attend it every year if I like. The Macon County Farm Bureau Ag in the Classroom Committee event always seems to bring a fresh perspective to the importance of agriculture by seeing the children begin to realize just how much their lives are impacted by the industry. In many cases, especially those attending school in Decatur, the students have never been on a farm even with so many a short drive away.
I can relate having not grown up on a farm. It would be a new experience to me, too. The sheer size of the equipment would have blown my mind at that age. (It still does). I can see the excitement of the children as they get to see farm animals up close. With many careers related to agriculture as shown with a can of soup, it seems important for the students to realize early on that no matter what they're interested in, a connection usually can be made to ag. It is so vast and impacts so much around us.
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Agriculture isn't limited to farms as what seems to be a common perception. Some of the most useful lessons from the field trip apply to everybody no matter where they live or go. American Red Cross volunteers make a presentation about First Aid. Farm Bureau Membership Secretary Betty Gosda has mastered a presentation about identifying chemicals around the house. Like the students, I find it hard to tell the difference between a bottle of things like syrup and motor oil without having labels. The presentation emphasizes the importance of not tasting, smelling or touching unknown substances. It's a lesson I remember around my house as I make sure everything is properly labeled and put in a safe place.
For those who end up around farms, Gosda said one of the most important lessons to remember is around anhydrous tanks. The chemical is useful in farming but has dangerous applications if misused. She said the first thing is to stay away and the tanks should be never be up close to a house. Gosda said it's better to be safe than sorry and stay away from the tanks without proper training and safety precautions. Children should tell an adult if they suspect something suspicious.
Agucation is taking place this week at the National Sequestration Education Center at Richland Community College. It is a slight shift in venue from previous years at the Shilling Center but one that seemed to work out well. The new building was needed to allow space for machinery and animals to be outside with rooms nearby. That wasn't possible with construction happening outside of the Shilling Center as Richland continues to grow.