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Down on the Farm

Much to learn at the county fair

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Waverly FFA junior Connor Nielsen teaches about planting corn at the Lancaster County Fair.

Midwest Messenger Columnist

Paula Peterson is a columnist for the Midwest Messenger.

Right this very minute down on the farm I’m living the life I love. We just wrapped up the Lancaster County Fair with my Fun at the Farm exhibit open to kids of all ages that want to learn and experience a little bit of Nebraska agriculture.

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Ms. Gloria Siemek, the Petersons’ youngest granddaughter, helps out at Fun at the Farm during the Lancaster County Fair.

I am so blessed to work with organizations such as Lancaster County Farm Bureau and Nebraska Farm Bureau that let my imagination run amok. I also appreciate all the support we receive from the Nebraska Sorghum Board, Nebraska Pork Producers, Nebraska Egg Producers, Nebraska Sheep and Goat Board, Pioneer Seed, Frontier Coop and all of the vendors from there that send fun items for the kids to get to take home with them.

Mostly I need to shout out to all my friends and families and businesses such as ADM and Tractor Supply that will send people to spend a few hours helping to share what we do every day. I get to have a great bunch of kids with 4-H and FFA backgrounds to come in and talk to adults and kids about the activities in our exhibit. It is so fun to see the kids that use to come play in the exhibit now come and work side by side with me learning to communicate their passion for agriculture.

This year the Lancaster County Event Center agreed to let me test run a Fact or Fiction game show about food labeling with a free root beer float night following. Fact or Fiction is a game show based off of an Ag in the Classroom activity called Two Truths and a Lie, where there are two statements that are factual and one that is fictional. The contestants need to determine which is fictional.

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Waverly FFA’s Rose Tvrdy, Lincoln City Councilwoman Jane Raybould, Norris FFA Alexis Stracke, Nebraska State Sen. Suzanne Geist and Raymond Central FFA Aleyna Cuttlers pose for a photo at the Lancaster County Fair.

I think it is safe to say that I truly have some of the best friends that let me talk them into being contestants, State Sen. Suzanne Geist from my own District 25 and Lincoln City Councilwoman Jane Raybould. These two ladies are great examples of moms, grandmas and consumers in general. I will say I know for a fact that Jane was just in it for the root beer float and is ready for a rematch. I was able to use three young ladies from the FFA chapters in our county: Rose Tvrdy from Waverly FFA, Aleyna Cuttlers from Raymond Central FFA and Alexis Stracke from Norris FFA as my experts on food labeling. They did a fabulous job and then helped out serving root beer floats to our audience and anyone passing by.

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Lincoln City Councilwoman Jane Raybould and Nebraska State Sen. Suzanne Geist share root beer floats following a fun match of Fact or Fiction.

I love being at county fair. It is so much fun to see the pride these kids have in their projects. The dedication and work that goes into getting an animal ready for fair or any of the static exhibit’s projects is mind boggling to those who have never experienced it. I truly wish every youth in America had a chance to show something at a county fair. There is just something special about the confidence the kids show when they see their hard work being recognized.

There is something very important to be taught and learned when you feel that you have done everything you possibly could and it didn’t turn out the way you felt you deserved. Being able to accept a red ribbon with grace and dignity is a very important life skill that I think is under recognized. We always told our girls and grandkids that it isn’t about the color of the ribbon but the satisfaction of pushing yourself into new areas.

Next up is going to be getting silage cut and put away to start getting feed ready for fall. I can’t believe we are this close to fall already. My grandpa Mach always said that time moves much faster the older you get and man I must be getting old because this year has just zoomed along.

Living the life, I love.

Paula Peterson and her husband raise crops and cows near Waverly, Nebraska. She loves to share her love of agriculture with people from all walks of life, and she is active with several agriculture organizations. She can be reached at

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Midwest Messenger Columnist

Paula Peterson is a columnist for the Midwest Messenger.

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