Contributed by Jacob Barber
This year Ag’em Up was a three-day event. The field day was held on October 11th, 12th, and the 13th. Due to the pandemic, we were not able to conduct the original two-day event at the Bladen County Parks and Recreation field. However, we modified the event to the best of our ability to bring the field day to the schools. Taking precautions such as wearing masks and applying hand sanitizer to students was our main focus. With the help of NC Cooperative Extension – Bladen County Center, Bladen Soil and Water Conservation District, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Bladen County Farm Bureau, Cape Fear Farm Credit, Bladen County Livestock Association, Four County Electric, Smithfield Hog Production, Prestage Farms, East Bladen High School FFA, West Bladen High School FFA, Bladenboro Middle School FFA and the Bladen County Board of Education, we were able to create a great learning experience for the elementary students.
Over the three-day event, we traveled to 8 different schools. The first day we attended Elizabethtown Christian Academy and East Arcadia. The second day we attended Bladenboro Primary, Dublin Primary, and Plainview. The third day we attended Bladen Lakes, Elizabethtown Primary and lastly Emereau. The students and teachers were able to have a first-hand experience about the number one industry in Bladen County- agriculture.
During the field day students and teachers rotated between 5 stations representing different commodities and fields of agriculture you might find in Bladen County, as well as a presentation on nutrition. There were over 50 volunteers including middle and high school agriculture students that helped teach the students and provide assistance to keep the event running smoothly. The 3rd graders and their teachers learned about livestock such as poultry, swine and beef, row crops, horticulture, beekeeping with the help of one of our local beekeepers, soils, and the environment. Within each station, the lessons and hands-on interactions between the student and the presenters made the experience memorable.
Ag’em Up Field Day is an annual event in Bladen County that occurs in October. This is a valuable event for our youth within the county. It helps them to recognize at an early age the enormous amount of opportunities within this industry from nutrition to livestock. Agriculture plays a crucial part of our everyday life and it’s important for the student to understand that. What better way to help them understand than to have them see it firsthand!
North Carolina Cooperative Extension is an equal opportunity provider.
Photos from the Ag’em Up Field Days with Captions
1) Olivia Antonio, Extension Farmworker Educator, is talking to students from Emareau about the swine industry in Bladen County and letting the students pet the piglets.
2) Karen Davis from the Soil and Water Conservations Service is explaining the difference in size between sand, silt and clay to East Arcadia Students.
3) Consumer Horticulture Agent, Jacob Barber, and 2 East Bladen High School (EBHS) ag students are teaching Bladen Lakes students about the parts of plants through a dance called the Plant Dance.
4) West Bladen High School ag students teach Bladenboro Primary students about poultry and let them pet a chicken and chick.
5) Bladen County Beekeeper, Luke Elkins, educates students from Elizabethtown Christian Academy (ECA) about the importance of pollinators, specifically honey bees.
6) Krista Johnson, Family and Consumer Services Agent, and EBHS ag students inform students from Bladen Lakes about nutrition and the differences in sugar amount in different soft drinks.
7) Matthew Strickland, Field Crops and Commercial Horticulture Agent, teaches students from ECA about row crops and shows them how to use a corn sheller.