Ag day shows off livestock to kids

mgaytan@losbanos enterprise.com May 14, 2014 

Some 400 Volta Elementary children got a new spin on turning fleece into yarn.

The students got an up-close look at all the benefits people derive from animals, during the school’s second annual Ag Day on Wednesday morning, as dairy leaders and ag business owners showed animals and gave presentations.

Cows, sheep, horses, pigs and even a bull calf were among the animals showcased.

Luv R Pacas, a Los Banos alpaca farm, brought three alpacas for show-and-tell. Mychaela Narcisso, 12, a family member to the owners of the farm, was the expert on the animal. She was teaching Volta students all there was to know about the furry friend.

“I like to do it because I love animals,” she said. “I think it’s important because people don’t know what alpacas are and I want to teach them that.”

Mychaela was educating students and teachers about how alpacas benefit humans, such as the bushy fleece that is made into yarn and clothing, she said.

At another station, Pacheco FFA students were showing off their Hampshire pig, which was recently presented at the Merced County Spring Fair.

“Who likes bacon?” FFA student Brenda Michell said to a group of third-graders. All raised their hands.

The FFA students said they volunteer their time to show kids how interesting it is to learn about the animals. “It feels really good because they’re learning about something they’re interested in,” Michell said. “And kids enjoy animals.”

Kids also learned about water, fish farming and mosquitoes, among other ag-related topics.

School Principal Jan Whitehurst said this year the school was able to get more animals to campus.

“It’s really important for us to have a variety for them to see,” she said.

Whitehurst said ag day exposes her students to the agricultural industry in positive ways, and some students even begin to be more interested in FFA once they’ve seen the presentation.

“The kids have a great time,” she said. “They learn a lot about the various elements of agriculture. Some of our students live on a dairy or ranch but there are a lot of students who don’t really know.”

Ag Day was made possible by a grant from the California Milk Advisory Board. The grant also paid for snacks for the students, lunch for the presenters and ag-related books that will be kept in the library.

Reporter Marina Gaytan can be reached at (209) 826-3831 or mgaytan@ losbanosenterprise.com.

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