Hannah DeVries – Staff Writer
While it isn’t necessarily unusual to see tractors and four-wheelers making their way through town, one day out of the year it is considered entirely normal for combines, tractors and livestock to appear on the front steps of Dordt College.
Ag Day, an annual celebration of agriculture and education, will occur on Friday, April 25. However, this year, there is a new focus on raising awareness and support for food-insecure children.
“The purpose of Ag Day is to educate the public about agriculture and the different aspects it involves,” said Holly Enerson, senior and former president of the Ag Club. “Bringing agriculture on campus makes it easy to share with Dordt students and the community.”
While farm equipment such as combines, trailers and tractors and animals like cattle, hogs, sheep and horses are the traditional exhibits, there will be several new features included in Ag Day this year.
“Ag Day varies from year to year,” said Enerson. “And in the last couple of years, it has definitely gotten bigger.”
This is a reflection of the agriculture world itself.
“Farming is always changing, Ag is changing and therefore equipment is going to change.”
The students themselves have a great impact on the event.
“Because it is student run, the ideas are always changing. Different students means a different event each year,” said Enerson.
The biggest change to this year’s Ag Day is an auction held to raise support and awareness of food insecurity for 1,200 children living in situations where food cannot always be depended on.
“We’re partnering with Farmers Co-op Society, Farmers Elevator Co-op Association and Ag Partners for an evening event,” said Instructor of Agriculture Gary De Vries.
With the help of the social justice club, items that are donated from different companies will be sold in a live auction.
“We’re hoping to raise $50,000,” said De Vries.
There will also be a video playing on campus that explains how farmers are working together to alleviate hunger across the country.
“Money raised will go to the Siouxland Community Foundation, and groups that are going to address child hunger will apply for grants,” said De Vries.
Not only is awareness being raised for food-insecure children, but Ag Day itself is also focusing more on educating younger children. “Agvestigations” will be held for third graders that teaches where their food comes from.
Freshman secondary agriculture education major Kayla Hack will also be involved in this aspect of Ag Day.
“One new thing that we’re adding to the educational tours for the younger kids is a station where they can plant a seed that will hopefully be flowering and ready for mother’s day,” said Hack. “We want to show kids that haven’t grown up on a farm or had any experience with agriculture that it includes animals and plants.”
Not only is Ag Day an opportunity to educate Dordt students and the surrounding community, but it allows Dordt students to share their love for agriculture.
“I’m really excited,” said Hack. “Agriculture education is my passion so to do that with my peers and with students from the community is amazing.”
“The main purpose of Ag day is to educate people about agriculture and why it’s important to us,” said De Vries. “The new twist is that we’re also showing that agriculture has some shared values with everybody, by trying to address some of the issues associated with hunger.”