Where youth can meet their meat and more

Eighth Annual Youth Field Day promises engaging and educational range cattle demonstrations

EVERY YEAR in June, the Range Cattle Research and Education Center in Ona, Florida, hosts its annual Youth Field Day event. This event provides students ages eight to 18 who are interested in agriculture, more specifically range cattle, with a unique hands-on opportunity to learn all about the factors that play a role in the industry. With a variety of booths and guest speakers, this expo provides an excellent opportunity for both networking and learning.

This year’s Eighth Annual Youth Field Day will be held June 25; sign-in begins at 8 a.m. and the schedule of events begin at 9 a.m. Students will break into six groups of all different ages and begin the day with a group rotation, listening to six different guest speaker presentations. The Guided Woods and Pasture Tour, for example, allows students to experience a true “field day.” RCREC staff will guide students through both pasture and woods that surround RCREC to interact in the environments that foster the range cattle industry.

Another interesting part of the group rotation is “Meet your Meat,” where UGC Certified Livestock Ultrasound Technicians, Amy Perryman and Becca Weeks, will demonstrate ultrasound techniques on a beef carcass. Dr. Brent Sellers is a professor of Pasture and Rangeland Weed Management, and he will give a presentation entitled “Graze or No Graze.” Dr. Raoul Boughton, Rangeland Ecosystems and Wildlife expert, will present “Wetlands, Amphibians and Reptiles of Florida Rangelands.” One speaker, Livestock Agent Lindsay Williams, will demonstrate a dissection of a rumen during her presentation.

Event Coordinator Andrea Dunlap with the RCREC explains that students really enjoy these types of demonstrations. Dunlap had the privilege eight years ago to be on the committee to plan this event, along with only one or two other members. RCREC tries to tailor the event to meet the students’ needs, and since the ages of students vary greatly, they make sure that each presentation is customized to the age group to remain engaging and educational.

For the second half of the day, students will explore different informative booths hosted by different local range cattle organizations and experts. The booths provide students with educational demonstrations, visuals, and hands-on activities. Students can roam the field of booths in the Grazinglands Education Building from noon to 3 p.m., when the field day ends.

Registration for the event is still open, and this year students can even register online. Although students can register on the day of the Youth Field Day event, early online registration is encouraged.

Dunlap explains that the RCREC Youth Field Day has many return visitors, and the event has been a great success through the years. Students get the opportunity to “learn a lot, rub elbows with some very knowledgeable people in the industry, and gain a better understanding of a potential future career.” RCREC’s goal is to “excite students about agriculture and science, reveal future opportunities in those areas, and foster a love of learning.”

To register, visit http://rcrec-yfd-2015.eventbrite.com.


article by JULIE GMITTER
photo by TYLER JONES, UF/IFAS Extension

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