The Ashtabula County Ag Day was recognized for the first time at a national level by the American Farm Bureau.

Ag Day, held each May, brings students to the Ashtabula County Fairgrounds where they receive a day of education regarding agriculture and the process that brings food from farm to table. The 2019 Ag Day, which is put on by the Ohio Farm Bureau and OSU Extension Office, saw more than 1,000 first-grade students from all schools across Ashtabula County participate.

Ashtabula County was one of 15 counties in Ohio to receive the County Activities of Excellence Awards from the American Farm Bureau for its Ag Day.

The awards celebrate unique, local, volunteer-driven programming which serve as models of innovation for local program development, according to information from the Ohio Farm Bureau. Winning counties receive a grant to fund participation in the Farm Bureau CAE Showcase at the 2020 American Farm Bureau Annual Convention and IDEAg Trade Show in Austin, Texas in January, the information states.

Mandy Orahood, an Ohio Farm Bureau organization director serving Ashtabula County, said in Austin at the annual convention Ashtabula County Ag Day will again be highlighted for national attendees to see. 

Orahood said Ag Day is an opportunity for children to learn about where their food comes from. To be recognized at a national level is great for local organizations and those who participate.

“It’s a hands on interactive opportunity,” Orahood said. “Many of these kids have never been on farm. Ag Day is important so that they can understand what agriculture is and what it means to their everyday lives.”

Abbey Averill, Ashtabula County OSU Extension program assistant, said receiving national recognition is something everyone should be proud of.

“It is definitely a community event,” Averill said of Ag Day.

Averill said many of today’s students are two or three generations removed from the farm. Exposing them to agriculture opens their eyes to the fact that food exists somewhere before it hits the shelves of the grocery store, she said.

Ag Day first began in 2012 in Ashtabula County with one school. Since that time it has grown to include all public schools in the county as well as some private and home schools, Averill said.

“It’s all about education,” Averill said. “We’ve had several counties come and observe our Ag Day and then they held their first Ag Day after coming and taking notes from us.”

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