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FARMtastic experience awaits school children


Special to The Dispatch



A new agricultural event targeting third-graders will take place at Mississippi State University Nov. 5-9. 


FARMtastic is an educational program designed to help children learn the sources of their food, clothing and other products. They also will learn about wildlife and health issues. 


Oktibbeha County Extension agent Julie White is coordinating the second annual event, which is sponsored by the MSU Extension Service and the Oktibbeha County Farm Bureau in cooperation with other agencies. Weekday activities begin at 8 a.m. and conclude at 1 p.m. at the Mississippi Horse Park, located on Poorhouse Road. 


"FARMtastic is a hands-on agriculture education activity that promotes locally produced agricultural products in a fun learning environment for area third-graders," she said. 


White is expecting almost 1,000 children from Oktibbeha and the surrounding counties. School groups will visit the exhibits the first four days, and the general public is invited to attend from 9 a.m. until noon the final day, which is a Saturday. 


Nelda Starks, co-coordinator and Oktibbeha County Farm Bureau women's chair, said FARMtastic is a great way to promote agriculture. 


"The younger children are when they learn where food and fiber come from, the better off we will be," she said. "Hopefully, by reaching the children, we will reach their parents, too." 




From wildlife to sports 


Guests will visit seven event stations for 15 minutes of hands-on activities and experiential learning. There are seven stations: 


  • The Enchanted Forest will teach lessons in forestry and wildlife. Children will make leaf rubbings and tree cookies, and they will examine forest products, count tree rings and see wildlife habitats and prints. 


  • The Wonder Plants offer lessons in horticulture. Visitors will make classroom planters and see vegetable gardens, fruit orchards and worms. 


  • The Barnyard Bonanza will teach lessons about farm animals. Students will see a milking demonstration and learn how to make butter. They will also see a variety of animals, including cattle, pigs, goats, sheep, horses and chickens. 


  • The Farm Toys exhibit will show the origins of products that contribute to athletic entertainment. Children will learn about football, baseball, basketball, golf and horse events. 


  • The Mighty Crops station will highlight area agronomy, including cotton, corn, soybeans, peanuts, sweet potatoes and wheat. 


  • The Farm Village will offer a scavenger hunt for agricultural products. This exhibit will include a co-op, department store, sporting goods store, hardware store, farmer's market, Farm Bureau office and Extension Service office. 


  • The My Plate Theater brings all the lessons together with a focus on nutrition and physical fitness. Class photo opportunities will take place at this exhibit. 


    For more information about this event, call the Oktibbeha County Extension office at 662-323-5916.



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