Agriculture is important to our local economy.
According to the most recent Indiana Ag Statistics Report (2010), Huntington County farms generated $145,938,000 in annual crop and livestock income.
Huntington County ranks 27th out of 92 Indiana counties for cash farm receipts.
The most recent U.S. Census of Agriculture (2007) reported that there are 184,951 cropland acres in the county.
Huntington County Ag Day will be held at Hier's Park on Tuesday, April 16. Third grade students from public, non-public and home schools in Huntington County will participate in this event.
The Huntington County Extension Office has coordinated an Ag Day event each spring for many years to educate third grade students about agriculture. Individuals who work in agriculture-related fields have volunteered their time and talents to make this program a success.
There are a total of 13 learning stations at this event. These stations include topics involving animal agriculture, crops, machinery and food safety.
Teachers are provided a question for each topic in advance to help prepare the students. Every child attending the program receives an activity book and other educational items donated by area businesses.
The material presented incorporates academic standards to allow this educational program to be taught outside the traditional classroom.
Approximately 40 volunteers will be assisting Purdue Extension Staff with teaching the students.
Many people in Huntington County are employed in farm or farm-related jobs, including production agriculture, farm inputs, processing and marketing and wholesale and retail sales.
Opportunities exist for young people to pursue agricultural college degrees. There are many possible majors. Food science, agricultural and biological engineering and agricultural economics are just a few options.
One recent study involves the shortage of college graduates to fill need.
The USDA Employment Opportunities for College Graduates in Food, Renewable Energy and the Environment, 2010-2015 report projected 53,500 qualified graduates will be available for about 54,400 jobs annually the agricultural and food systems, renewable energy and the environment.
Note that there are many different ways in which communities celebrate Ag Day across the U.S. However, the intent of every county Ag Day is to recognize and celebrate the abundance provided by agriculture. The National Ag Day Web site provides more details www.agday.org.
Ed Farris is the agriculture and natural resource educator with the Huntington County office of Purdue Extension. He can be reached at 358-4826.