Learn About Meat Quality, Robotics, Invasive Reptiles and More at Youth Field Day 


Do you want to see cattle up close and find out how Florida ranchers bring beef to the dinner table? Come to the 15th annual Youth Field Day at the UF/IFAS Range Cattle Research and Education Center (RCREC) on June 27 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Space is limited, so register soon. Students 8 and older — with their parents — and youth leaders are invited to attend.

The center is at 3401 Experiment Station Road in Ona. 

“As always, our goal is to excite students about agriculture and science, reveal future opportunities in those fields, and foster a love of learning, which will promote agriculture and good stewardship in this and future generations,” says Andrea Dunlap, marketing and communications specialist for the center.

RCREC Director Brent Sellers adds, “I view the field day as one of our most important outreach events at our center. I feel fortunate that I had the opportunity to grow up on a farm, raise livestock and be involved in 4-H. Many youth in Florida don’t have that opportunity. Since our youth are our future, I think it is important to expose them to the many opportunities in agriculture and science that directly or indirectly impact our food production systems.” 

The day begins with the Learning Expo. Attendees will have two hours to visit a multitude of educational booths with hands-on activities pertaining to topics such as farm safety, cattle nutrition, quail, beekeeping, ham radio operation, invisible fencing and more. 

Hay bale core sampling at Youth Field Day at the Range Cattle Research and Education Center.

Representatives from the UF/IFAS College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) Plant City, the Florida Automated Weather Network and agricultural industry representatives will also be there, with informative stations. 

During the Learning Expo, pasture tours will be offered for those who would like to see cattle in the field and learn about RCREC cattle from staff tour guides.  

At 10 a.m., attendees will gather for a short welcome message, then divide into groups to rotate through five stations. At the class stations, attendees will learn about:

  • Meat and the use of ultrasound to determine quality.
  • Using artificial intelligence and robotics to control pests. 
  • Florida’s invasive reptiles. 
  • The importance of good nutrition to beef cattle reproduction.
  • Sand to clay: Evaluating soil textures.

Lunch will be included as one of the stops in the rotation. Then, at 1:30 p.m., everyone will gather for a closing assembly, where the winner of the third annual T-shirt design contest and prize winners will be announced. Anyone can enter a design, one entry per person. All attendees will vote on their favorite T-shirt design at check-in that morning.

T-shirt design entries must be submitted by June 25. For details about the contest, visit the RCREC website calendar

Not able to attend but still want a shirt? Order through the registration site.Questions, contact RCREC staff at ona@ifas.ufl.edu or (863) 735-1001.

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