Youth tour AgCenter station to learn about agriculture

Karol B. Osborne  |  5/15/2017 2:59:37 PM

(05/15/17) ALEXANDRIA, La. – Students from Caroline Dormon Junior High School in Woodworth, Louisiana, took a break from the classroom to tour the LSU AgCenter Dean Lee Research and Extension Center near Alexandria and get a close-up view of agriculture.

The group of 42 4-H and Beta club members visited the research station on May 11 to learn about the importance of agriculture to them and their families.

“These students need more than just classroom exposure, and this is a good way to give them that,” said school librarian and 4-H leader Nicole Coreil.

The tour focused on how research conducted at the station helps farmers and others in agriculture and included a variety of topics, such as technology, crop science, animals and gardening.

“This is an awesome opportunity for these children to see what the AgCenter can do for them,” said Boyd Padgett, AgCenter central region director.

AgCenter engineer Randy Price demonstrated an unmanned aerial vehicle, or drone, and explained how the technology is useful to farmers in managing their crops.

“This is just an example of how this technology, that some might think of as a toy, is being used in science and agriculture,” he said.

AgCenter corn and cotton specialist Dan Fromme took students to the field to talk about corn and cotton production, showed examples of corn development and shared facts about how corn and cotton are used to make many of the products they use every day.

Padgett showed students the on-site weather station and discussed how the data collected helps them conduct research on the station.

Students also visited cotton and soybean fields and heard about various seed treatments and why they are important in managing insects and disease.

AgCenter Rapides Parish 4-H agent Sallye Dugas and county agent Rodney Johnson led the group on a tour of the DeWitt Livestock facility, where they heard about beef and dairy production and saw a Brahman bull and a Jersey cow.

Fourth-grader Audrey Lee said she enjoyed petting the cows and liked the dairy cow the best.

Her classmate, 4-H member Avary Benn, favored the bull. “He’s lovable and reminds me of my bunnies,” she said.

Following the tour, Dugas and Johnson helped students plant squash, okra, cucumbers, cantaloupe and watermelon seeds as part of a hands-on Garden-in-a-Glove workshop.

“We’re putting the cotton balls in the water and then in each finger of the glove and adding different seeds to each finger,” fifth-grader Brett Bain explained.

Junior Beta Club sponsor Marie Wilson said she likes how the children can learn where products come from and get a hands-on experience that they otherwise would not have.

“They really liked the cows and the hands-on gardening activity,” she said. “And they really want to remember which seed is planted in each of the fingers.”

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Students from Caroline Dormon School tour the LSU AgCenter Dean Lee Research and Extension Center near Alexandria to get a close-up view of agriculture on May 11. AgCenter regional director Boyd Padgett explains how research conducted at the station helps farmers and the agriculture industry. Photo by Karol Osborne/LSU AgCenter

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LSU AgCenter Rapides Parish 4-H agent Sallye Dugas tells about the care and feeding of livestock animals to fourth- and fifth-graders from Caroline Dormon School during a tour of the DeWitt Livestock facility on May 11. Photo by Karol Osborne/LSU AgCenter

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4-H leader Nicole Coreil assists 4-H and Beta club members plant a garden-in-a-glove as part of a hands-on gardening workshop following a tour of the LSU AgCenter Dean Lee Research and Extension Center on May 11. Photo by Karol Osborne/LSU AgCenter

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