Cozad’s Ag Exposure Day…

Thoughtful Thursday

ag exposureday.jpg

On this Thoughtful Thursday, I am thinking back to yesterday when I participated in the Ag Exposure Day for the 4th and 5th graders in our town of Cozad.  Every two years, a group of 30+ volunteers put together a “farm day” at Platte Valley Farms for our upper elementary students.  Sisters Ann Smith and Judy Eggleston organize 150 students who spend four hours going to 9 different stations to learn about different facets of agriculture in Nebraska.

ag exposurekids.jpg

With the help of a Cozad high school student (the daughter of one of the ranchers that I purchase cattle from), I am in charge of the “Cattle Learning” station which consists of giving a 15 minute presentation about cattle and beef to nine different groups of 15 students.

As I take the students through the life of a calf, why it is raised, why we eat beef, and how to offer basic care to a food animal; I field a variety of questions.  While I find each one of the students’ questions interesting, there was one yesterday that gave me pause.

alyssacalf.jpg

A 5th grade boy asked:

How can you get the meat off of the calf without killing it?

 I answered,

You can’t.  The animal gives it’s life in order to provide us with nutritious food.

My answer was met with a new level of understanding and a quiet nod.  I do not think that this young man will ever look at a hamburger the same way again.

My favorite 4th grader at AG Exposure Day...

My favorite 4th grader at AG Exposure Day…

As the students completed the last station and filed off to the nearby field to enjoy a hamburger lunch, I continued to think about this question — baffled that a 10 year old boy would think that meat would be harvested off of a calf without the calf dying.

How has our society become so far removed from food production? 

and perhaps more importantly…

How are we going to fix this?

Today, I charge each of you with the task of helping to educate others about where their beef comes from — whether it is your own child, or the person next to you in the grocery store line — take the personal responsibility to ensure that beef production is properly understood.

He has dedicated his life to caring for cattle and raising beef --- He cared enough to mentor me.  We proudly grow your food.

Farming is his life — He cared enough to mentor me. We proudly grow your food.

Farmers dedicate their lives to raising safe and nutritious beef

— animals give their lives so that we can nourish our families —

Shouldn’t each one of us take the time to properly appreciate the sacrifices that occur so that we do not go hungry?

5 Comments

Filed under General, Thoughtful Thursday

5 responses to “Cozad’s Ag Exposure Day…

  1. Dawn

    We have strayed so far from the backyard food production that most of our grandparents experienced. For those of us who raise our own food, it is indeed baffling to hear someone say ‘it’ comes from the grocery store. It is baffling to hear people say they want organic, natural foods and then express dismay that a head of lettuce straight from the garden has dirt and maybe a bug on it, or that the apple you pick from a tree is not polished and shiny and perfect. I talk to adults that do not know how the milk gets in the bottle, or how cheese is made or where any of it comes from. Here in Maryland the sale and purchase by the public, of raw milk is prohibited. I encounter people that are astounded by a fresh egg laid moments before it is cooked. Meat production just doesn’t enter their minds. I think the single most important gift I gave my children was the experience of raising their own food. It has been a journey that I am so grateful for. I am in awe when we sit down to a table full of nutritious food and realize we produced almost every part of that meal. I have become more conscious of trying to support farmers markets and “eat local” as often as possible. I am blessed to live in an agricultural county with a lot of those opportunities, and in an area that offers an abundance of fresh dairy, produce, meat, poultry and seafood as well. At every opportunity, I try to share that journey and educate and inspire others.

    • I agree on all counts, Dawn! We share many thoughts in common. Love your comment — thank you for sharing both here on the blog and abroad with others.

      Our family fed the Cozad Cross Country team tonight — We provided the food and the kids cooked themselves. It was home made spaghetti with garden fresh tomatoes and home grown beef — I had so much fun watching the kids cook and then eat the great tasting fresh dinner that they prepared. Such great life skills 🙂

      Hope that all is well back East.
      Best,
      Anne

  2. Ann Smith

    First, I’d like to recognize the Cozad Chamber Ag Committee for providing the Ag Exposure Day. Judy and I have been part of the committee for years. The above discussion is why It is our committees’ goal to promote Ag education. Yesterday covered diversity in agriculture. We are so appreciative that Anne and other exhibitors are willing to volunteer their time. The question Anne received validates the need to continue the education and incorporate it in our daily lives. Anne handles those questions beautifully. Thanks again for being there!

    • It was my pleasure, Ann. The kids love “Farm Day” and they get so much out of it. I love it that our community can come together to offer such a great experience for our kids. It is a great thing when we can combine good real world knowledge about agriculture with a fun outing for the kids.

      Thanks to you, Judy, and everyone who volunteered!
      Best,
      Anne

  3. Johnny Stansell

    I’m a big fan of you and many more women advocates of American agriculture. I think you guys do it best! Currently I am retired and grow a 100% organic garden, but I applaud everyone’s search to produce our food in the best ways.

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