Students gather to participate in Sumter County’s first ever Ag Day

Published 2:28 pm Friday, November 10, 2023

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AMERICUS – Approximately 288 sixth graders from Sumter County Public Schools and Southland Academy came to the Sumter County Agricultural Center on Thursday to participate in the county’s first ever Ag Day.

“Our mission here is to introduce our youth to agriculture and agra business,” County Extension Coordinator Mitzy Parker said. “So many of our students don’t realize that agriculture is one of the number one industries here in Sumter County and we’re trying to let them know what is being grown around here and job opportunities in agriculture and how agriculture affects their daily lives.”

Dooley County ANR Agent Bill Starr is seen here showing students cotton and peanuts.
Submitted Photo

Parker went on to say that most kids think they get their food from the grocery store and that they don’t realize their food is grown locally. She added that the Sumter County Agricultural Center is also interested in increasing participation in 4H livestock judging. “We’ve got our animals here to let children know about opportunities with 4H to show animals,” Parker said. “

Sumter County Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent Chelsea Lopez stated that a couple of months ago, the decision was made to put on AG day to spark kids’ interest at a younger age and to introduce them to the opportunities that agriculture provides. “We decided to kind of put together a bunch of different groups that kind of encompass all of those areas in agriculture,” Lopez said. “Or goal is to really just kind of spark these kids’ interest….kind of get them to be a little bit more curious and to want to learn more things and to get them involved. My goal with the livestock is for them to really see these animals, see what kind of animals that they can show, that they can judge as being 4H members. All of these animals that we have out here, horses, cows, a pig and some chickens, these are all animals that they can show and judge at different ages.”

Volunteer Travis Kelley with Ag Technologies is seen here showing students precision agricultural technology.
Submitted Photo

Lopez went on to say that they also cover the farming of row crops, such as corn, cotton, peanuts and pecans, which are some of the biggest row crops in Southwest Georgia and specifically Sumter County. Lopez also stated that the kids are introduced to the various different agricultural equipment that is used in farming and how the equipment has changed over the years. “We want to start introducing them to the technology side of things, especially with the spray drone and ag technologies out here,” Lopez said. “They’re given some information about the different hydraulics and fully autonomous tractors that they have coming out where they’ll completely drive themselves. It’s been super great. I think we’ve had a great turn out. The kids seem to be really engaged. We spoke to a couple of kids over at the livestock area and they’re wanting to know more.”

Students are seen here observing and feeding chickens as part of Ag Day.
Submitted Photo

The event began at 8:30 in the morning and lasted till about 1:20 that afternoon. There were several stations that showed livestock and some that showed various row crops.