01/17/2019
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Ag’em Up Days, a two day annual Agricultural Field Day Adventure for Bladen County 3rd graders, was postponed this year until October 29, 30, and November 1, 2018.  Normally, we set up at the Bladen County Recreation Park, but due to damages from the storm, we needed to keep our students in class. Our team of partners and volunteers took the show on the road, visiting seven schools across our county.

Bladen County Cooperative Extension, Bladen County Farm Bureau, Cape Fear Farm Credit, Bladen County Livestock Association, Four County Electric, Bladen Soil and Water Conservation District, Farm Service Agency, Prestage Farms, Representative William and Brenda Brisson,, Southeast Farm Equipment, Smithfield Hog Production, West Bladen High School FFA, East Bladen High School FFA and the Bladen County Board of Education worked together to create this annual opportunity to bring the Farm to the school, demonstrating the importance of agriculture to the students.

More than 350 third grade students, their teachers and parents took a closer look and experienced first-hand Agriculture – the number one industry in Bladen County.  Bladen County has a diverse agricultural economy with the farm value of all commodities exceeding $347 million.  Bladen County is ranked 6th in the state in total value of all agriculture and 6th in the state for value of livestock, dairy and poultry.

Six specialized stations, manned by over 20 volunteers, comprise this field day event. The content of each station focused primarily on agriculture in the county, but one experience emphasized the importance of a healthy lifestyle. Among the topics and experiences, the 3rd graders learned about field crops, swine, goats, poultry, horticulture, beekeeping, soils and the environment, tractors and technology, and the nutrition of our food. Hands-on activities engaged the students to make the learning experience rich and fun.

More specifically, at the agricultural stations, students learned about corn, cotton, peanuts, and soybeans.  Students identified the parts of a plant and how each one is important in producing the food we eat.  The students learned how pigs, poultry, and goats are raised, the products that make up their feed, where they live, and who keeps them healthy.  The students participated in an experiment that taught them the importance of the soil that grows their food. The students learned about plant growth and the different plant parts at the horticulture station along with the importance of blueberries to Bladen County’s economy.  At the beekeeping station, the students were introduced to the importance of bees to making our fruits and vegetables grow and they saw the equipment it takes to become a beekeeper.  At the initial station, students learned how important technology is to farming and how important it is for them to make healthy choices about the foods that they eat.

Ag ‘em Up Days occurs annually in Bladen County during October, which happens to be National Farm to School Month. Field days like Ag ‘em Up help our youth recognize and experience how closely each of our lives is touched by farming and agriculture. It is not just a part of our history in Bladen County – it is critical today that we celebrate these connections to local food sources.

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