At the Ag ExpoApr 17, 2012 By Emily Etheredge, Staff Writer
Faith Ridgely, a third-grader at Arapahoe School, volunteered to dress up like a cow. By decking herself in ears, a sandpaper tongue, blown up balloon udders and hoof-like socks, Ridgely helped her classmates learn the different parts of a cow at the 18th annual Ag Expo on Friday.
Third-graders from across Fremont County visited Central Wyoming College's Equine Center to learn about livestock, farming techniques and how food gets to the plate.
Jenna Anderson, head of the AG Expo, said the event allowed students to learn about agriculture in Wyoming.
"This expo really helps in informing the area youth about agriculture in Fremont County," Anderson said. "There are a lot of kids who have grown up here that really don't know where their food comes from, and it is good for them to be able to see firsthand."
The students went from station to station learning about beekeeping, wool, sheep, cows, soil, horses and pigs.
Patti Griffith, of Griffith Livestock, brought three sheep -- Goofy, Bowzer and Sam -- for the students to pet. She also showed the students products made from wool.
"Wool can make warm socks, blankets and sweaters and is a usable fiber that is environmentally-friendly," Griffith said.
Griffith also explained to the students that there are 47 different breeds of sheep in the United States.
"I think the majority of kids have never even seen a sheep up close before, and I am excited to be here and educate them on sheep and the sheep industry," Griffith said.
Beef producers wore T-shirts sporting the phrase "I love beef," and Ladonna Good gave a talk on the importance of eating meat.
"Meat provides ZIP and will help your body have more energy," Good said. She said ZIP stands for zinc, iron and protein.
She said beef is also one of the best sources of vitamin B in the diet and is important in metabolic activity where it helps make energy and sets it free when your body needs it.
"I want everyone to remember that the scientific word for cows is beautiful 'bovine,'" Good said.
She said more than 97 percent of U.S. beef cattle farms and ranches are family-owned, and cows are natural recyclers because they eat the leftovers of all types of food production, such as fruit pits, potato peels, almond hulls and sugar beet pulp. This process reduces landfill waste while making high-quality protein.
Cathy Meyer, from the Soil and Water Conservation Society, passed out Earth Day bracelets.
"The bracelets represent people, and as people, we have to represent natural resources," Meyer said.
The bracelets illustrated how everything on Earth is related to everything else, and the beads represented people, water, plants, earth, air and sun.
Sheyla St. Clair, a third-grader at Arapahoe school, said her favorite part about the expo was learning about cows.
"I liked the cow part and being able to learn what a cow looks like," St. Clair said.