The Ohio Department of Agriculture along with Ohio Farm Bureau, and Ohio’s Commodity groups had another successful year with their Ag is Cool program for students. The program is one that kids of all ages can experience by participating in a scavenger hunt throughout the fair grounds to learn about Ohio agriculture. This gives kids a chance to really experience the agriculture side of The Ohio State Fair which may be areas some fairgoers overlook. The theme of ODA’s display this year was sports. Hands-on activities relating the sports industry to agriculture showed fairgoers how agriculture affects them in their daily lives. Some of the activities included a football toss for the kids with facts about Wilson’s (Ada, Ohio) footballs. Did you know one cow hide covers 10 footballs? Another activity included Ohio’s turf grass industry that continues to grow throughout the state. Facts about pests affecting the turf grass were described with turf donations from The Ohio State University, and the Columbus Crew. Phoenix Bats (Plain City, Ohio) provided a wonderful display explaining the process of how baseball bats are made. Along with the bat display microscopes and bugs were available to show the invasive species that are destroying Ohio’s trees. Other Ag is Cool stations around the fair allowed the kids to see livestock shows, milk a cow and to see how wool is spun.
The Ag is Cool Program is a great educational program to teach fairgoers about Ohio agriculture, especially those who are not from rural areas and are unaware of the importance of agriculture. This program also encourages exiting 4th graders to write an essay about their experience with the Ag is Cool program and why they think “Ag is Cool.” Once essays are submitted to the Ohio State Fair, they are entered into a contest with a chance to win a $ 500 scholarship. Also, those 4th grade teachers who participate in the Ag is Cool program have a chance to win an agricultural based field trip for their class. Thanks to the partnerships that helped make this program a success.