MINOT, N.D. – The Living Ag Classroom, always one of the most anticipated and attended features of the KMOT Ag Expo, returns for another year of agriculture education.
Designed at its roots as a teaching tool for elementary age students without a family background in agriculture, the program attracts fourth and fifth grade students from around the region to learn about all the processes involved with production agriculture.
Approximately 750-800 fourth and fifth grade students are expected to be bused in to participate in the Living Ag Classroom during the KMOT Ag Expo. The students travel in from around a 50-60 mile radius.
“The Living Ag Classroom is kind of a staple of the KMOT Ag Expo,” said Todd Telin, KMOT Ag Expo manager. “The commodity groups are here to show the kids all about the agriculture process, like how honey is made and how wheat is turned into bread. It’s really great for the kids.”
Participating students will rotate through an assortment of hands-on activities in an effort to help teach them all about North Dakota agriculture and the process that puts food on their plates.
Each activity is sponsored by various commodity groups who set up the different activity sections and provide an approximate 5-minute presentation to help teach these students about production agriculture.
Since its inception, the Living Ag Classroom has enjoyed amazing success, educating thousands of students, teachers and parents about the industry that the state of North Dakota was built on.
“The kids come through and get an opportunity to see how their food comes from the field to their fork,” Telin said. “So many of the kids are kids who live in town, so a lot of them don’t understand how the agriculture process works. The Living Ag Classroom really opens their eyes to how it all happens.”
This education about agriculture can sometimes create a spark in agriculture for the younger audience.
“It gives them an interest in agriculture,” he said. “They don’t have any idea where milk comes from or how bread is made. This program is able to teach them all of that.”
Not only is the Living Ag Classroom an educational tool, but it’s also a great experience overall.
“It really benefits the students. It’s a learning experience for them to see how the entire production process works,” Telin said.
During past years of the Living Ag Classroom, participating commodity groups have included N.D. Beef Commission, N.D. Farmers Union, N.D. Oilseed Council, Midwest Dairy Association, and N.D. Honey Promotions. Other groups that have taken part in the activities include N.D. Wheat Commission, Northarvest Bean Growers, N.D. Soil Conservation, NDSU Extension Service and the Farm Safety 4 Just Kids.
The Living Ag Classroom is just one of the many features of the KMOT Ag Expo that makes it the great event that it is. In a year where the Ag Expo is expecting full capacity of booths and participants, it is clear that the Living Ag Classroom is a large part of the Ag Expo’s annual success.
“It’s been going on for so many years that we now have exhibitors who come in and say they remember coming here as a kid for the Living Ag Classroom,” Telin concluded.
The classroom will be located in the Carousel beneath the grandstand and is open to the public with sessions starting at 9 a.m., and running through 3 p.m., on Wednesday, Jan. 29 and Thursday, Jan. 30.