Four fifth grade students across Ohio each received a $500 scholarship for their outstanding participation in the “Agriculture is Cool” education program held during the Ohio State Fair in conjunction with the Ohio Department of Agriculture, Ohio Farm Bureau and Ohio’s agricultural commodity groups.
The Ag is Cool program, which celebrated its seventh year in 2017, provides free Fair admission for any exiting fourth grade student and a chaperone to visit the Ohio State Fair to learn about agriculture. Once at the Fair, the students visit a total of 10 different stations located in barns, education centers and livestock facilities to find key answers to questions such as “How many glasses of milk does a dairy cow produce each day?” or use information they have learned to name surprising products that are made using soybeans. Dozens of the students who visit those stations then return home to write an essay or creative story about what they learned while visiting the “Agriculture is Cool” education program held during the Ohio State Fair. These essays are then reviewed by a panel of judges, who selects just four to be honored as the best in the state.
This year, the top essays were written by the students listed below. Representatives from the Ohio State Fair, Ohio Department of Agriculture and the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation visited each of the winning students’ schools at the following dates to present a giant scholarship check during a special assembly at the school. During the presentations, each winner read his or her essay to their classmates:
- Gabby Bodo (Harding Middle School, Steubenville)
- Adam Kauh (Emerson Elementary, Westerville)
- Stella Geis-Moffitt (Columbus Gifted Academy, Columbus)
- Marissa Murphy (Madison Christian School, Groveport).
The “Agriculture is Cool” program has been 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. While the Ag is Cool admission and scholarship program is provided to exiting fourth grade students, all Fair visitors are encouraged to participate. The program experienced record participation in 2017, and included several interactive education stations throughout the Fair where students could learn about:
- The many ways Ohio’s largest industry, agriculture, impacts many facets of their everyday lives
- Animal care and witnessing the birth of farm animals, along with the interaction between new babies and their mothers
- Soy and corn production and the various uses in food, fuel and other modern items
- How Ohio’s poultry industry is a national leader in egg production
- Modern dairy farming and how dairy farmers take care of their cows to produce safe and wholesome milk and milk a real cow
- The beef industry and nutrition, environmental stewardship, recycling and more
- The ways that barns protect Ohio animals to keep them healthy
- Items and amounts that make up various animals’ diets
- Ohio’s rich agricultural history and information about farms that have been in families for more than a century
- How modern-day tractors help Ohio farmers maintain crops.