Ag Day is celebrated throughout the state in different ways, including scholarships, essay contests, breakfasts, farm visits and farm festivals.
Its purpose is to recognize and celebrate the abundance provided by agriculture, according to the Agriculture Council of America, which coordinates National Ag Day.
In the process of Ag Day, the council says, people who don’t have any connection to agriculture can learn to value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy and appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable products.
These are lessons that people still need to hear, according to two county Farm Bureau leaders who are involved in their county Ag Day celebrations.
“In talking to people in different areas that I’m involved in, they have no idea that their food comes from a farm,” said David Brenner, Vanderburgh County Farm Bureau president and Ag in the Classroom volunteer.
“Ag Day is important to LaPorte County and to Farm Bureau as well,” noted Mark Parkman, LaPorte County Farm Bureau president.
LaPorte County celebrated Ag Day Feb. 8 and 9, and Vanderburgh County will be celebrating it April 12.
Vanderburgh County Extension organizes the county Ag Day event, Brenner said, which this year will include a daytime program for school children and an afternoon-evening program for families. The county Farm Bureau provides many of the volunteers as well as washing stations adjacent to the animal displays and lunch for the volunteers.
This year’s event will be in person, he added, but because 2022’s Ag Day celebration was virtual, the county prepared a virtual Ag Day presentation featuring Brenner talking about corn, soybeans and wheat. Although it won’t be needed for 2023’s Ag Day, Brenner said he is sure he will use it again during the county fair and at presentations to 4-H clubs.
“My hope is that after seeing my presentation, if they drive by a field of wheat, for example, maybe they’ll say ‘Oh, I know what that is,’” he said.
LaPorte County’s Ag Day celebration was put on hold a few years ago, but it came back in 2023, thanks to the county Farm Bureau.
“The board wanted to make sure it continued, and so they voted to get more involved,” Parkman said.
Held over two days in February, the event was coordinated by LaPorte County Farm Bureau, the county extension office and LaPorte County Row Crop Food Producers Association, a nonprofit that has been advocating for agriculture for about 30 years.
Targeted at the county’s fourth graders, it included 12 different stations, including rabbits, chickens, crops, pollinators, FFA, machinery and beef, and was attended by approximately 740 kids.
“The last time it was held, we had about 700 fourth graders come, so I’m glad it was a little bigger this year,” Parkman added.
This is the 50th year that Ag Day has been celebrated at the national level, and according to Agriculture Council of America, several events are planned, including a Taste of Ag reception at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.