EATON — A $5,000 grant helped Eaton FFA members teach younger students from Eaton and Vandalia-Butler schools a little bit about farm life.
On Friday, Oct. 7, the Eaton chapter of the MVCTC FFA hosted the second annual Ag STEM Day at the Preble County Fairgrounds.
The chapter was able to host this event thanks to the $5,000 grant they applied for and received from Agricultural and Rural Community Outreach Program (ARCOP.)
During Ag STEM Day, the Eaton FFA Chapter had 150 students come from Eaton’s Bruce Elementary in the morning and 100 students from Vandalia-Butler visit in the afternoon.
“I think there was a lot of enthusiasm. Kids were asking questions, so that means they were engaged,” Eaton FFA Advisor Rebecca Holbrook said.
Why is it important for students to attend an event like Ag STEM Day?
“It’s important for them to realize that they’re a part of agriculture every day — because they eat, they wear clothing,” Holbrook said. “And by opening the door for them now, they can possibly join 4-H, but they can also just be more aware of everything that’s around them.”
It wouldn’t have been possible without the grant.
The Ohio FFA Association distributes the grant money through a program that is funded by the state.
“We applied in April and then we found out in May that this year we were awarded $5,000, which was the max,” Holbrook said. “We paid for the busing, for all the supplies that we needed. We provided lunch for the Vandalia-Butler students. We have t-shirts for all of our students..
The day involved up to 275 elementary students, plus 52 Eaton FFA members.
The students were able to attend nine stations covering different agricultural topics, including FFA, feed, rabbits and poultry, dairy, beef, agricultural equipment and GPS technology, plant and soil science, goats and sheep, and equine.
At each station two Eaton MVCTC FFA members presented information to the elementary students on their specific topic; with many hands-on activities, such as making butter, measuring soil temperature, or practicing sheep showmanship, available.
The FFA chapter was also very fortunate to have two Ohio State FFA Officers, Johnathon Cottingim and Trisha Seckel, presenting at the FFA station, according to Eaton FFA member Katelyn Niehaus. “Both groups of elementary students were also able to experience the benefits of agriculture, with the Bruce Elementary students receiving an ice cream bar and complimentary t-shirt and the Vandalia-Butler students receiving pizza, chips, and a cookie,” Niehaus said.
“The Eaton MVCTC FFA members gained a lot of leadership experience at the Ag STEM Day and enjoyed getting to meet and talk to the State FFA Officers,” Niehaus said. “The chapter hopes that this day helps to raise awareness about the importance of agriculture and even sparks some interest for the students to pursue agricultural careers.”
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH.