Update: Due to the recent storm, Morton County Ag Day at the Burleigh County 4-H building in Bismarck is cancelled for Tuesday, March 12. Adequate parking is unavailable to safely hold the event. Currently, there is not an alternative date scheduled.
Morton County Ag Day, a long-standing event geared toward helping children understand that milk comes from cows, not the grocery store, is slated Tuesday in Bismarck.
“We’re trying to get them thinking this turns into that … the field-to-plate, pasture-to-plate concepts,” said Kathy Tokach, secretary of the Morton County Farm Bureau, which hosts the annual event. “So they don’t think hamburgers come from McDonald's.”
Nearly 3,000 people, including day care kids and providers, elementary students and teachers and “proud Morton County grandparents” are expected to attend the free event, which is slated for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Burleigh County 4-H Building, 3715 E. Bismarck Expressway.
Last year, Ag Day was held in Mandan's former Thrifty White Drug building, which the city recently sold to Runnings. Tokach said there is no other facility in Mandan that would fit their needs.
“The reason the event's in Bismarck is we can secure a building the size we need, and one that allows us to bring animals in,” she said.
While everyone is welcome to attend, Ag Day activities are best suited for the second-grade and younger crowd, according to Tokach, who said kids will learn, mostly, by touching and feeling.
A petting zoo will feature baby sheep, goats and pigs. Attendees will have the opportunity to hold chicks.
“The kids always want to hold those baby chicks. We'll let them feel them and hold them,” Tokach said. “Ag Day allows children to view animals in a safe setting.”
About a dozen sheep will be sheared over the course of the day, which will convey the message that wool is used to make sweaters and mittens.
A dairy cow and calf will be present. Attendees are encouraged to enter the “name the calf contest,” with the winner receiving a gift card.
Children will have the opportunity to handle grains, such as wheat, and learn about the ingredients that make up a pizza via 10 agriculture education booths.
A farm safety puppet show, put on by the Mandan and New Salem FFA chapters, will be featured throughout the day.
“It'll teach kids how to be safe around horses, cows, goats,” Tokach said.
Numerous schools within a 25-mile radius of Bismarck-Mandan participate in the event each year.
“We just want it to be a learning opportunity … even if the kids take just one ag fact home with them,” Tokach said.
Ag Day is an undertaking of the Morton County Farm Bureau, the Mandan and New Salem FFA chapters and the Mandan Lions Club.