PAOLA — The Miami County Fairgrounds turned into an interactive agricultural classroom for students from throughout the region during Ag Day on Tuesday, Sept. 17.

Fourth-graders from Sunflower Elementary in Paola, Broadmoor Elementary in Louisburg, Trojan Elementary in Osawatomie and Queen of the Holy Rosary-Wea Catholic School all participated in the annual event.

The students rotated through 16 stations where they listened to presenters and participated in a variety of hands-on activities, including touching a cow, brushing a horse, petting a sheep, tossing a lasso and more.

Marjorie Pretz, county coordinator for the Miami County Farm Bureau Association, was one of the lead organizers of Ag Day. She said Ag Day is designed to introduce students to agriculture and animals, and for many of the students who were raised in the city, it can be an eye-opening experience.

“This is our 17th year,” Pretz said. “We started at the Paola school and then moved to the fairgrounds for more space.”

The sun was blazing during this year’s event, but the students were able to escape the heat because some of the stations were inside air-conditioned buildings.

Inside Building No. 2 the students listened to Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent Katelyn Barthol talk about the importance of being safe while operating farm equipment. They also learned about bees from Joli Winer and Cecil Sweeney of Heartland Honey & Beekeeping Supply in Spring Hill.

Outside, the students enjoyed walking through the Miami County Conservation District’s soil trailer and getting up close and personal with a variety of animals.

Becky Hager brought her horse Oakie to Ag Day, and the students enjoyed gathering around the horse and singing “Old Town Road.”

Dr. Gerard Egidy of Miami Veterinary Clinic showed the students some of the instruments he uses when he treats animals, and Callie Toews of Southwest Dairy Farmers explained to the children where milk comes from.

Other presenters tackled topics such as wheat, cattle, pigs, goats, corn, soybeans, plants and more.

Pretz said the teachers also all received packets full of information they could use with their students.

In addition to the Miami County Farm Bureau Association, Miami County Ag Day is also sponsored by the Marais des Cygnes Extension District, Miami County Fair Association, Kansas Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture and Southwest Dairy Farmers.

Editor and Publisher Brian McCauley can be reached at (913) 294-2311 or

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