Henry Miller School's Ag Day celebrates Valley's bounty

By Thaddeus Miller
March 16, 2012 

Henry Miller Elementary School let the cow, goat, pig and alpaca out of the barn Friday.

The 18th annual Ag Day brought FFA students and local professionals to the primary school to give students lessons on everything agriculture, from sheep to tomatoes.

Senior Victor Ayala, an FFA member from Los Banos High, found himself on the other side of the presentation this year as he showed rabbits to kindergartners. He said he remembers being a Henry Miller student during Ag Day.

"FFA is a really good activity," he said. "I just wanted to get them involved."

Ayala said he spends time every day with his animal, and wants to continue agriculture-related studies in college through chemical engineering and veterinary medicine.

FFA students from both high schools showed barnyard animals throughout the campus by asking the primary schoolers trivia questions, labeling the animals' edible parts and letting the students get up close to the specimens.

Hans Younce said his employer Morning Star Packing Co., the largest producer of tomato paste in the world, has been to all 18 Ag Days. He told students Friday how tomatoes go from the field to a pizza.

"We want them to know what we produce," Younce said. "Basically, how we make it."

Other presenters included representatives of the San Luis Reservoir, almond farmers, California Department of Fish and Game, Merced County Mosquito Abatement District and dairymen.

Assistant Principal Thelma Blarer said she wants students to be aware of where their food comes from, and the resources available locally.

"It's a way of getting our community into our schools," Blarer said.

Enterprise reporter Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 388-6562 or by email at tmiller@losbanosenterprise.com.

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