Junior Achievement’s expo teaches fourth graders about ag industry
EASTON, Md. — Fourth grade students at a Talbot County elementary school got an up-close look at agriculture and the local careers available in the industry through a pilot program from Junior Achievement of the Eastern Shore and business sponsors.
Junior Achievement focuses on giving young people the skills for economic success, plan for their futures, and make smart academic and economic choices.
Program director Heather Dennis said with agriculture’s scope on the Eastern Shore there were a lot of career opportunities to show the students.
“Agriculture fits in because this is a readily available resource and we want to showcase all that is local,” Dennis said.
The Ag Day program at Easton Elementary School consisted of five in-classroom lessons about resources and entrepreneurship, taught by MidAtlantic Farm Credit employees, for 175 students, the school’s entire fourth grade population.
Lessons dealt with traits of good businesspeople, challenges in starting and running a business and supply chain management. The sixth activity took students to the school’s gymnasium for an expo-style event featuring local business owners with an interactive exhibit.
Students learned about what grains are grown in the area from representatives with Nagel Farm Services and Maryland Grain Producers Association; they saw how hydroponic plants grow in a display from Baywater Farms from Salisbury; they looked at thermal imaging technology used by engineering firm, Rauch Inc. University of Maryland Extension, Farm Credit and Sprout, a local mobile meal delivery company also exhibited and students could go outside to see and sit inside a modern tractor, owned by Royal Oak farmer, John Swaine.
The purpose of the expo was to show students all the different facets of the agriculture industry, Hayes said; from the exhibit to show students how peanuts are turned into fresh peanut butter to the heavy equipment booth and from the grain jar exhibit where students can make art out of different grains to the butter churning station.
“One industry gap we’ve identified is the world of agriculture, in general,” said Jayme Hayes, president of Junior Achievement of the Eastern Shore. “Our hope is that at the end of the day, the students see that the world of farming is the future. If we can inspire even a few students to pursue a career in agriculture, then we’ve done our job.”
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