In North Dakota, demographics have been changing fairly quickly. At one time, many more people grew up on farms than do so now. And that means many people today haven’t worked cattle or combined a wheat field like their parents, grandparents or great-grandparents did. That’s why supporters of the Living Ag Classroom, a mainstay of the annual Agri International show in Bismarck, ND, say it’s important.
Rachel Fast, water shed coordinator at Morton County Soil Conservation District helps students understand the importance of learning about agriculture. “A lot of the students today are not coming from rural homes and farms so they don’t have a good understanding of where their food comes from and the environment around them,” she says. “It’s very important to get our young people involved in agriculture. The Living Ag Classroom is a way of doing that.”
Brandon Alveshere, district technician at Morton County Soil District explains that the students enjoy visiting the booths because they get to learn in a different way than they would in class. “It’s a good hands-on way for them to learn when they actually get to experience it and see all the models,” he says. “Not all teachers have the opportunity to present to the students like this.”
Dennis Gad, Basin Electric member media coordinator, says Basin Electric and the other surrounding Touchstone Energy cooperatives continue to support the Living Ag Classroom. “We are pleased to sponsor the Living Ag Classroom because in this high-tech world of disconnect it is important for kids to realize that food doesn’t just arrive in a microwave package or in a McDonald’s happy meal,” he says. “The Living Ag Classroom offers students a firsthand look at the reality of what it takes for a farmer or rancher to plant a seed or raise a calf, so in the end we can enjoy the food we eat and take for granted every day.”
“It’s nice to see that you’re impacting these students and that they find it really fascinating,” Alveshere says. “Hopefully they take the message they learn and do something good with it, even if they at least tell their parents about it and make them aware of something that they may be doing wrong.”
Basin Electric along with Mor-Gran-Sou Electric Cooperative, KEM Electric Cooperative, Capital Electric Cooperative, McLean Electric Cooperative, Roughrider Electric Cooperative and the North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives sponsor the event.