Coshocton County Farm Bureau, in cooperation with local FFA Chapters and Ohio State University Extension, host the “Little Farmer Zone” during the Coshocton County Fair, where kids 10-years-old and younger and their chaperone can learn about agriculture.
The project recently won a White-Reinhardt Mini-Grant from American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture, which funds projects that will increase agricultural literacy.
The desire is to make the area a long-term commitment. “Our goal with this grant is to obtain permanent educational materials that can be mounted in the barn and reused for multiple years. These would be posters, interactive displays and other long-term materials. As needed, and as space permits, we would like to use these materials for other programs in Coshocton County such as Dinner on the Farm or First Farm,” said Coshocton County Organization Director Kayla Jones.
The goal for this program is to introduce younger kids to agriculture and help them understand where their food comes from as well as help them understand some of the projects and livestock they see at the fair. This area is specifically designed for kids who are too young to participate in 4-H as they learn what their opportunities are and seek to find their own passions.
“We anticipate kids leaving the Little Farm Zone excited to see the live animals on the fairgrounds, perhaps asking a 4-H or FFA member questions about their livestock. Perhaps they will ask their parents about creating a garden or recognize a corn field along the road and remember something that corn is used for,” Jones said.
The zone is geared toward kids 10-years-old or younger and their chaperone. Last year was the first year for the project, and Jones said an average of 100 kids a day came through during the busiest days of the fair. “The kids rides are adjacent to this area which helps with promotion and attendance,” she said.
Activities range from digging for vegetables to help kids understand where their food comes from and what it takes to get it from the field to the table, a display about swine handling and using the appropriate tools to move livestock, the importance for water in growing crops and livestock and why we need to maintain a clean water supply. A display on careers specifically deals with new technology and ways to be connected to the agricultural industry without needing to be in the fields.
The 2018 Coshocton County Fair takes place Sept. 28-Oct. 4 and this will be the second year hosting this program.