Kids Day on the Farm attracts nearly 1,000 students at DSU
For more than 30 years, the Dickinson State University Agriculture Club brings the farm into the city every spring to offer children from preschoolers to third graders a unique opportunity to learn about agriculture.
DICKINSON — Roughly 1,000 children came out for Kids Day on the Farm Thursday at Dickinson State University to advance their agricultural literacy, develop leadership and team building skills and interact with area students.
The community-wide event exposes agriculture to area preschool through third grade students each spring in a hands-on kind of way, with farm equipment, animals, crops, a soil tunnel, petting zoo and even rodeo roping exercises. This year, the DSU Agriculture Club hosted its 31st year of Kids Day on the Farm and had more than 980 students already pre-registered for the event. DSU Agriculture and Technical Studies Department Chair Chip Poland said that they had almost 1,000 students throughout the day.
Given that they had fewer exhibits than previous years and the horse wagon rides had to be canceled due to last week’s snowfall, Poland, who’s also the advisor for the DSU Ag Club, said that “participants took that all in stride" and "had a great day.”
“Agricultural literacy is very important, particularly a sense of where your food comes from and its importance to North Dakota,” Poland said. “Thus, we try to use a fun adventure as a way to start that process in local kids. Our target group is third grade and younger in the region, and their adult supervisors. It is also a way for us to give back to the community.
“Additionally, it is a great learning opportunity and leadership and team building exercise for the students in the DSU AG Club. They are the brains and brawn behind putting on the event. The ag department recognizes the need to build leaders ready to serve in their communities and this is just one step in that process.”
For the past couple of years, this event has been extended to agriculture students from Dickinson High School, who have provided “invaluable help on the day of the event,” Poland said, adding that the event also serves as a recruitment opportunity for the DSU Agriculture and Technical Studies Department.
“Honestly, I cannot believe the number of local students attending DSU that indicate Kids Day on the Farm was one of their first exposures to DSU,” he added.
Throughout the day, the DSU Ag Club led a guided tour every 15 minutes with the students, teaching all about life on the farm.
Along with Kids Day on the Farm, DSU Ag Club President Cassi Wagner has been in charge of leading the organization through the FFA District 8 Leadership conference in the fall of 2021 and the FFA/4-H Roughrider Judging Contest that took place in February.
Poland noted that Wagner’s schedule is exhausting, but “she has taken it all in stride.”
“From my perspective, Kids Day on the Farm is a great day for both the kids attending as well as the Ag Club members and volunteers putting the event on,” Wagner said. “It allows us to work with kids at a young age and get them excited about agriculture. There are several members and volunteers that are getting an education degree, and this was great exposure for them to work with kids. I think other members have enjoyed coordinating this event knowing that it has an impact on these young kids and their understanding of agriculture.”