The event, dubbed "AgMagic," is aimed at urban children and adults to help them understand that food, clothing, lumber and other products that result from agricultural production don’t just come from a store.
It will feature a variety of plants and animals and even will include a replica of a small forest planted on the coliseum’s dirt floor.
"AgMagic will take children and adults through a journey of Louisiana agriculture and economically beneficial commodities they use every day," LSU AgCenter Vice Chancellor Paul Coreil said. "The AgMagic experience will be an interactive, visually stimulating environment that will link food and fiber products we use every day to the forests, field crops and livestock produced by Louisiana farmers, ranchers and forest landowners."
The new event replaces the traditional 4-H Mini Farm that formerly was conducted each spring in a smaller facility adjacent to the Parker Coliseum during the LSU AgCenter Spring Livestock Show. It provided school groups with a chance to see smaller farm animals and to learn a limited amount about a few Louisiana agricultural commodities.
"Since changes on campus led us to move the state livestock show to the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales, we had the opportunity to provide a much larger event than our traditional Mini Farm," Coreil said. "We think people are going to enjoy AgMagic and learn a lot more from it."
The AgMagic exhibits will provide a look at aquaculture, wildlife and farm animals, as well as featured crops such as rice, sugarcane and cotton. In addition, to provide a glimpse of the vast ecosystem contained in a forest, visitors will walk through a small forest constructed inside the coliseum as they enter the world of renewable resources.
The exhibits will include:
–"Animals Produce For You." This educational area will include chickens, pigs, goats, a miniature horse, sheep and dairy and beef cattle. It will give participants a chance to see what animals eat and the products provided by the livestock industry. There also will be scheduled demonstrations on sheep shearing and milking a cow, as well as the chance to see chicken eggs hatch in an incubator.
–The exhibit on plant products will include a look at cotton, rice and sugarcane from seeds to mature plants. It also will provide a look at how vegetables are grown and how insects contribute to the process. Specialized educational signs will allow visitors to learn about the origin of products they consume, such as that ketchup is made from tomatoes.
–"Farming the Waters" will feature catfish, crawfish, alligators, turtles and ornamental fish, such as koi. Viewing stations will allow visitors to see both habitats and products, and visitors will learn how you "farm" aquatic life.
–The "World of Wonder" exhibit will focus on forests, forest products and wildlife. The exhibit will illustrate in a natural-type setting the abundance of natural resources found in our state. Visitors will learn what it takes to protect our environment. They also will learn the forestry industry and its many facets and products exceed other plant and crop production within the state. Specialized tractors used in logging, as well as a portable saw mill, will be available for viewing.
Debbie Hurlbert of the LSU AgCenter’s 4-H Youth Development, one of the event’s organizers, said teachers also will be provided with resource guides they can use back in their classrooms.
"We’ll also have some optional presentations such as exercise and workout routines for children that will be conducted by the YMCA and the ‘Share a Story’ program presented by Louisiana Public Broadcasting," Hurlbert said.
AgMagic will be open to the general public from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. April 24. On other days during its April 20-29 run, it will be open for scheduled tours by school groups and other organizations.
To obtain more information or to schedule a tour, visit www.lsuagcenter.com/AgMagic or phone (225) 578-2196.