AgMagic at the State Fair

Linda Benedict,  | 10/19/2015 12:20:09 AM

Do you think food, clothing, lumber and other products only come from a store? Come to AgMagic at the State Fair to see and learn where your food and fiber really come from. Visitors will enter the world of agriculture and follow a path that leads to knowledge about crops, livestock, nutrition and 4-H.

AgMagic is open to the public for self-guided tours Oct. 25 to Nov. 11. Guided tours for school groups (third- through sixth-graders) will take place Nov. 7-9 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“The AgMagic experience will be an interactive, visually stimulating environment that will link food and fiber products we use every day to the forests, fields and farms of Louisiana,” said Katherine Pace, LSU AgCenter extension agent in Caddo Parish.

Featured crops will be displayed in various stages of development and the interaction among agriculture, the environment and society at large will be highlighted, she said.

A new exhibit this year is a combine set up as if in a corn field. Students can climb into the cab, take the wheel and "harvest" corn.

"They'll be watching a computer screen that will show the combine going through the field and harvesting corn," Pace said.

There will be a big screen TV set up along side the combine so that visitors to the combine exhibit can watch, too, Pace said.

“There will be a cotton gin and someone will be demonstrating how to remove the seeds from the cotton through the use of the gin,” Pace said.

The animal area will focus on livestock and poultry production. “We will relate to the kids that our food is coming from a farm before it gets to the grocery store,” said Gary Stockton, LSU AgCenter agent in Lincoln Parish.

Hands-on activities will give opportunities for the kids to learn what products besides meat come from livestock.

In the World of Wonder area, there will be information, exhibits and hands-on activities on forestry, wildlife, camping, fishing and other outdoor recreation. Classes for the school groups will be hands-on activities centered around forest products and fishing, said Ricky Kilpatrick, LSU AgCenter forester.

Bugs will come alive in the entomology area as youth learn about honey bees and how honey is made. Mike Hall, LSU AgCenter entomologist, will have microscopes on hand for the students to look through and closely examine insects.

In the horticulture area, children will receive Growums, a planting medium in which seeds soak up water and grow, ready to be transplanted to a pot when the children take them home. Other features include a box filled with dirt in which the children can dig for potatoes.

"They love doing that," Pace said. 

Extension agents will provide an educational program centering around the “Germ Cave,” which is an interactive cave where children learn about the benefits of hand-washing to avoid the spread of germs and bacteria, said Joan Almond, LSU AgCenter agent in Webster Parish. The kids will be given Glo Potion, which is a hand cream that shows existing germs on your hands under black light.

Once they exit, the children will sanitize their hands before moving on to the next area.

Another tabletop display features the “My Plate” nutritional guidelines. The students will use magnets with different food products depicted to create well-balanced meal. 

The 4-H section includes a bingo game about 4-H and agriculture and a clover-shaped puzzle with 15 pieces representing different projects within 4-H.

"We'll be recruiting for 4-H and showing the students that 4-H does not necessarily mean raising livestock," Pace said.

The LSU AgCenter is one of 10 institutions of higher education in the Louisiana State University System. Headquartered in Baton Rouge, it provides educational services in every parish and conducts research that contributes to the economic development of the state. The LSU AgCenter does not grant degrees nor benefit from tuition increases. The LSU AgCenter plays an integral role in supporting agricultural industries, enhancing the environment, and improving the quality of life through its 4-H youth, family and community programs.

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