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Students get an up-close look at agriculture

H&N photo by Ty Beaver
Kaeli Neuman of Pelican Gathering Preschool pets a lamb belonging to a member of the Chiloquin-Cascade Sheep 4-H Club at the Farm Expo at the Klamath County Fairgrounds. Her mother brought her to the event.

February 27, 2007 Herald and News

Thomas Montoya of the Chiloquin-Cascade Sheep 4-H Club said it's fun to talk to kids about his agricultural activities.

The 16-year-old was at the Klamath County Fairgrounds Tuesday along with other 4-H and FFA members for the 22nd annual Farm Expo.

While the event serves as a recruiting opportunity for the two groups, organizers say its deeper purpose is to expose children and their families to agricultural life.

“It's fun to see the look on their faces, for them to see something they thought foreign but is really just outside their back door,” said Jessica Horsely, 4-H and youth development coordinator for the Oregon State University Extension Service in Klamath County. Seventeen booths along with farming equipment and other displays filled the John Hancock Event Center for the expo. About 900 fourth-graders were scheduled to visit the center Tuesday and today to listen to presentations from FFA and 4-H members as well as others involved in agriculture.

Christy Flowers of the Klamath-Lake Farm Bureau is in her third year organizing the event, though her involvement goes back nearly to the beginning when the Farm Bureau and Klamath County Cattlewomen's Association began sponsoring it.

Both Flowers and fellow organizer Suzanne Gallagher with the Cattlewomen said the event started as way to educate the public and show the role agriculture plays in society.

“It's knowing that milk doesn't just come from the store,” Flowers said.

Leigh Ann Arthur, director of curriculum and instruction for Klamath Falls City Schools, said she's seen students benefit from the event on a number of levels.

“It's just a wonderful partnership,” she said.

Not all the benefit is for the fourth-graders, though. Montoya said while he enjoyed talking to the kids about his agricultural projects and interests, the event also provided an opportunity to improve his public speaking skills. Getting out of school to participate is nice, too.

“That's a bonus,” he said.

By TY BEAVER, H&N Staff Writer

More visits

The Farm Expo will continue to have visits from county and city schools' fourth-graders today.

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