More than 400 fifth graders from 18 classrooms in Northeast Nebraska gained firsthand experience on where their food, fiber, and fuel come from by attending the Growing Potential Ag Festival in Wisner, Neb., on August 22 and 23.
The annual festival is put together by the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation and the Northeast Nebraska Corn Growers Association, with more than 25 sponsors coming together to help put on the successful event. The Wisner-Pilger FFA Chapter also volunteered at the event.
“With both of our organizations having an interest in agriculture and our next generation of leaders, we were excited to offer this event for a second year and for local kids to learn about Nebraska’s number one industry,” said Courtney Schaardt, director of education outreach.
Students made their way around nine learning stations that covered different aspects of agriculture. At one station, the fifth graders discovered the process of irrigation and how important water conservation is to farmers and ranchers. Other activities included learning about the different careers in agriculture, exploring the machinery farmers use to plant and harvest corn, how farmers care for the land, along with the importance of ethanol in Nebraska.
“Agriculture means everything to Nebraska and is a staple in our community,” Chet Beckmann, fifth-grade teacher from Wisner-Pilger Public School, said. “It’s great to have a field trip where the kids are always moving and engaging with the different speakers and stations. The kids are able to ask questions and learn about subjects that they don’t know about.”
The festival expanded to two days in order to accommodate more students. Schools participated from towns across Northeast Nebraska including West Point, Wayne, Wisner, Hartington, Ponca, Pender, and South Sioux City.
“We are excited that this is the second year that we can provide this opportunity to Northeast Nebraska schools,” said Taylor Nelson, a member of the Northeast Nebraska Corn Growers Association. “It was great to see all of these agriculture groups join together to teach their communities about all of the aspects of agriculture. We thank them for sharing their time and their resources.”
Sponsors include Premier Sponsor: Kaup Seed and Fertilizer; Gold Sponsors: Albers, Feedlot, Charter West Bank, Citizens State Bank, Dekalb, Farmers Coop, Keiser Ag & Irrigation, Pender Implement, Pioneer, Siouxland Ethanol, Stine, Summit Ag, Zoetis; Silver Sponsors: Allegiant Seed, Channel, Croplan, Farm Credit Services of America, Fontanelle, Golden Harvest, Hefty Seeds, Hogemeyer, LG Seed, Mycogen, Pinnacle Bank; Bronze Sponsors: Midwest Bank, Seitec. Volunteers for the event included Nebraska Farm Bureau, Lindsay Corporation, American Coalition for Ethanol, Northeast Nebraska Corn Growers, and KTIC (Rural Radio Network).
Information and photo provided by Nebraska Farm Bureau