As the students at A Place to Grow Montessori walked into the school 3 August, their fingers excitingly pointed to the big yellow tractor sitting in the school parking lot. J.R. Shannon, a local farmer whose children attend the school, approached Blair Vedenoff, Director for A Place To Grow, about bringing a group of his industry partners to the school for an Ag Day.
Shannon reached out to Rosa Brothers Milk, which helps him regularly with Ag Education projects, to pour samples of their milk and talk about the dairy industry. Nicole Schott of Rosa Brothers Milk knows the importance of teaching.
“Rosa Brothers Milk Company is committed to Ag education in our community,” she said, “which is why we like to attend events at local schools that teach children about the importance of agriculture. Teaching them about ag at a young age will help them appreciate what farmers and dairymen provide for their community.”
Samantha Tomlinson, who works for Fresno Co Ag Department, brought her K9 Ag Dog which is used to detect fruit and pests being brought into the county illegally.
Shannon, who sits on El Diamante’s Agriculture Advisory Committee, was excited to have Matt Rosa and Reno Gonzalez, who serve as President and Treasurer of the El Diamante High School FFA program, host a station teaching the kids about FFA and teaching the kids fun agriculture facts. Shannon rounded out the last station the kids rotated to with a tractor in the background. He talked about farming and what crops are grown here in Visalia and a handful of kids got to jump up and sit in the tractor.
“Ag education is more important than ever before,” Shannon said. “With more people wanting to know where their food comes and with all the false anti agriculture rhetoric farmers face daily it’s important to share our stories and educate today’s youth. What makes agriculture so special is these kids will have so many options down the road to pursue a career due to its diversity. Agriculture isn’t solely just dependent on the farmer but also the technology, financial science and business management industries.”
The kids got to sample fresh oranges, grapes, pistachios, and Rosa Brothers milk which was all donated by local processors.
“Some of these kids are going to be the ones feeding us and this entire nation down the road. It’s very rewarding to see the excitement in their eyes when discussing agriculture,” Shannon said.