The smell of dirt and the excitement in the eyes of hundreds of children were certainly highlights for the South Dakota Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Team as they spread the message of agriculture at the Washington Pavilion in Sioux Falls.  This was the 10th annual Ag Day at the Pavilion.  “The reason why we do Ag Day is to educate kids that their meals don't just come from the grocery store,” said Kaia Mogen, the Pavilion's Special Projects Coordinator. “They have to start somewhere.”

During the event, children had the opportunity to milk a cow, spin fiber, watch minnow racing, hand-grind wheat berries, and play many farm games.  There were 39 exhibitors who came prepared to give hands-on experiences for all the participants. There was a free lunch along with the two floors of hands-on activities showcasing the diversity of agriculture in South Dakota. Stacia Knuth of Hartford said, “The Ag Day was really neat.  It is so nice to see so many areas of agriculture in the same place, showcasing what they do.”  

The South Dakota Farm Bureau came prepared to make close to 450 “dirt critters” with the children.  Dirt critters are cute, hair-growing “critters” made out of a nylon filled with dirt, grass seeds, and face glued on to give lots of personality.  Children were able to take their dirt critter home to watch it grow. 

The children were also given a sticker that said “I met a farmer today.”  Parents were given notepads for shopping lists following the “MyPlate” food recommendations, as well as “Reality of Farming & Ranching” post-it notepads, which share the message that only 16 cents of the consumer’s food dollar goes to the farmer and rancher.

The event gave the Farm Bureau members a unique opportunity to share their story of agriculture with hundreds of children and their families.  Mary Dybedahl from Minnehaha County, a 13-year-old Farm Bureau member, said, “It was very rewarding for me to be able to teach other children about agriculture.”  Ag Day in the Pavilion is a great way to gather people from all aspects of agriculture to showcase how we each provide the products they use for food, fiber and fuel in their daily lives.

“Being involved with educating children about agriculture is really important to those of us involved with the Farm Bureau” said Cindy Foster, SDFB Women’s Leadership Team Chair. “We are excited to be involved again next year with the Ag Day in the Pavilion."

View a photo album from the event at South Dakota Farm Bureau's Flickr page.