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Ag is Cool Program to return to Ohio State Fair
In celebration of Ohio Agriculture Week, March 11 - 17, the Ohio Expositions Commission and the Ohio Department of Agriculture have announced that the Agriculture is Cool education program hosted in collaboration with the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and Ohio's agricultural commodity groups will return to the 2012 Ohio State Fair.
The Agriculture is Cool program, inspired by the initiative of Gov. John R. Kasich in 2011, includes several interactive education stations throughout the Ohio State Fair where students have the opportunity to learn about the many ways Ohio's largest industry – agriculture – impacts many facets of their everyday lives. The program, which also offers four $500 scholarships to top participants, was recognized by the International Association of Fairs and Expositions as the best special or specific agricultural education exhibit, event or program for the fairgoing public for fairs with annual attendance between 500,001 and 1 million.
The Agriculture is Cool program will be open to visitors of all ages during the 2012 Ohio State Fair, July 25 - Aug. 5. For the second consecutive year, exiting fourth grade students (2011-2012 academic year) and a chaperone will be admitted for free upon presentation of a valid report card at the entrance gates. New this year, fourth grade teachers will be invited to attend the Fair for free and can enter to win one of two $2,500 classroom grants. Teachers are required to submit their contact information online and will be sent an admission voucher.
Prior to the Fair, the Creative Expression visual arts contest will take place through July 9. School-age Ohioans (K-12) are encouraged to draw, paint, photograph or produce a video about why they think agriculture is cool. Winners in each category and age group will be selected and honored in a special ceremony at the Fair.
"The Ohio State Fair celebrates everything that makes our great state so wonderful, including agriculture," explained Ohio Expositions Commission General Manager Virgil Strickler. "By offering free admission to fourth graders and their teachers, we are able to provide a 360-acre classroom to educate visitors about this ever-changing industry."
"The great thing about this program," said Ohio Department of Agriculture Director David Daniels, "is that it helps young people understand you don't have to live on a farm to have agriculture touch your life every day. By exploring Ohio agriculture at the Ohio State Fair, families get the opportunity to see how farmers today are using state-of-the art technology to grow food. It's pretty incredible."
One in seven Ohioans has an agriculture-related job. Every year, farmers in Ohio produce 7.5 billion eggs, 376 million pounds of chicken, 177 million pounds of turkey, 302 million pounds of red meat, 1 billion pounds of pork, 9.7 million pounds of sheep and lamb and nearly 5.2 billion pounds of milk.
The Ohio Expo Center is proud to host the Ohio State Fair. With a spectacular midway, big-name entertainment, hundreds of exhibits and one of the largest junior fair shows in the nation, the 2012 Ohio State Fair will run July 25 through Aug. 5.
2011 Ag is Cool Scholarship recipients
Stanley "Stash" Apana (Northfield Village, Ohio), Lee Eaton Elementary
Katie Meier (Kenton, Ohio), Benjamin Logan Middle School
Alexa Mier (Medina, Ohio), St. Mark Lutheran School