The Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba seized the opportunity to spread some agriculture knowledge to Manitoba youth during its annual Ag Ex event.
“At all of our events we like to put a focus on ag education,” said Ron Kristjansson, general manager of the Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba. “Having the students come out to our events and participate is so important to us.”
More than 500 students from across southwestern Manitoba took part in the Provincial Exhibition’s Ag Education events at the Keystone Centre.
“We get the kids to come right to the event and meet with exhibitors, learn a little bit about cattle, what is going on in the industry, as well as learn about horses, what participating in rodeo means and how rodeo stock is cared for,” Kristjansson said.
Moo Mania was held on October 26 for Grades 3 to 6 and focused on all aspects of the cattle industry. The Equine Academy was held on October 27 for Grades 6 to 8.
“This is all about spreading knowledge about agriculture and letting these kids learn in a fun way. A lot of these kids are more than two generations removed from the farm. They don’t know anyone from a farm and they have never set foot on a farm,” said Jennifer Skiehar, program co-ordinator with the Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba.
Cattle for kids
Moo Mania took students through a number of presentations where they discussed different breeds, what all is involved in caring for cattle, the business of cattle production and what cattle shows and sales are all about.
The students earned Moo Bucks for answering questions at each station, which were later used to bid on cattle during a mock auction.
A volunteer presenter at the event, Andrea Futrell from Rivers, talked with the students about the internal workings of a cow’s stomach and how their food gets digested.
“The kids were really engaged and I think it was pretty cool for them to see what the actual process was,” Futrell said. “I think events like this one are extremely important. Kids need to be here, see the animals and speak to people who are a part of the agriculture community. They need to know where their food comes from.”
Skiehar says organizers have no trouble finding volunteer presenters to participate because most are directly involved in the industry, understand the need for agriculture education and are excited at the opportunity to shed some light on their agriculture practices.
“At these events we really focus on having the producers right there so that these kids are able to meet them, learn first hand from the people who are involved and ask any questions they might have. It also gives producers the chance to show the care and concern that they take with their animals,” Skiehar said. “We hope the students learn something and make some memories that will stick with them as they get older.”