More than 700 elementary students from western Nebraska got a hands-on education recently about Nebraska agriculture during 2022 Agsplosion events that were held in 5 different locations in the Panhandle.
The young learners spent the day rotating through eight stations about a variety of agriculture commodities that were presented by Nebraska Extension educators and assistants. The students learned about the livestock and crops that are raised and grown in the Panhandle as well as across the state. Some of what the students learned include:
Swine: The basics of the swine life cycle and production, and how pigs are raised to produce safe, quality meat for consumers.
Corn: How the number one crop produced in Nebraska is planted and grown. They also learned about the three main types of corn produced in the state, and products from corn, such as popcorn and ethanol.
Wheat: How winter wheat is grown and harvested in the Panhandle. They also learned how wheat is ground up to make flour, and the difference between whole wheat and white flour. Students were able to grind their own flour using pestle and mortar sets.
Potatoes: How potatoes go from farm to factory. Students learned how the nutritional value depends on how potatoes are cooked, and that 85 percent of the potatoes grown in Nebraska are made into Lay’s potato chips.
Beans: The importance of Nebraska soybeans in central and eastern Nebraska and dry edible beans in western Nebraska. Both crops are sold within the U.S. and internationally for human consumption, and how soybeans are also an important component of animal feed rations.
Beef: Students learned they get more than meat from beef animals and realized how many beef byproducts they use every day such as toothpaste and toothbrush, shampoo, tires, and combs.
Dairy: The process of milk production from farm to refrigerator. Students also made and tasted homemade butter.
Ag Technology: Students explored how technology allows farmers to grow lots of crops efficiently. They worked in teams to plant by hand to experience the difference.
“AgSplosion is a great way for youth to explore Nebraska’s number one economy in a fun, hands-on setting. The Extension staff works together to create lessons that engage youth while exposing them to the vast products that originate not only in the Panhandle but across the state,” said Sarah Paisley, Nebraska Extension, 4-H Youth Development Educator. “Teachers appreciate that we connect the lessons to what they are teaching in school and how they apply directly to the world in which they live and the food they eat.”
Sponsors and other supporters provided financial support, use of facilities, farm equipment and live animals for the events. They include Nebraska Corn Board; Nebraska Wheat Board; Farm Bureau; Prairie Winds Community Center at Bridgeport; Walther Farms; Oshkosh Heifer Development; Big Red Popcorn; Box Butte Ag Society; Cheyenne County Fairgrounds; and Dawes County Ag Society.