Learning the Ag life

Ag Expo shines light on farming and ranching for fourth graders


Max Miller

Veterinary technician Jessica Tavik fascinates Saratoga fourth graders with a vial of parasitic worms.

April 21 came as a relief to Judy Raymond. Since November of 2015, the operator of the Ferris Mountain Ranch near Muddy Gap had been organizing an agricultural exposition (Ag Expo) in Rawlins for Carbon County fourth graders. In comparison to arranging logistics for 29 different volunteer presenters and reserving space at the Carbon County Fairgrounds, herding 180 students and 20 chaperones from seven different schools was a breeze for the cattle rancher.

By her estimate, Raymond has been presenting at the annual Ag Expo for 19 years, and she has been in charge of the whole operation for the last five years. The Carbon County Stock Growers has held the Ag Expo for area fourth graders for 23 years, and the operation is a study in efficiency by now.

The students were broken into 17 different groups and attended 17 different presentations between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. About every 15 minutes Raymond used a bullhorn to announce that it was time to switch, and the students rotated to their next station round-robin style. With seven stations indoors and another 10 outside, students learned about topics such as branding, roping, property rights, gardening, working cow dogs and wildlife services. Many of the presentations included hands-on demonstrations or activities for the energetic youngsters to take part in.

Students from Patrick Howley's Culinary Arts program at Rawlins High School provided lunch for Ag Expo attendees. The lunch consisted of two different chilis, home-baked rolls, bacon-cheddar corn bread and meatballs and exemplified Howley's culinary philosophy. "I'm a big believer in nothing out of a can," the instructor said of his made-from-scratch creations.

Eight students from the Encampment School, nine youngsters from Hanna Elementary School and 17 fourth graders from Saratoga Elementary were bussed in for the educational exposition. Beaming sunshine and a light breeze made for lots of smiles and laughter among kids and instructors alike.

Max Miller

Jace Berger demonstrates the proper way to wrangle a metal bull at his roping exhibition.


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