Fourth-graders from all over the area enjoyed a day out of their classrooms this week at the Gallatin Valley Farm Fair north of Belgrade.
Kristi Gee, executive director of the Belgrade Chamber of Commerce, said this is the 15th year that the Agricultural Committee of the Belgrade and Bozeman chambers has sponsored the fair, which features plenty of fun and educational activities.
Due to the rising student population, the fair has grown considerably in recent years, Gee said. The event used to be held over two days, but now has expanded to three in order to make it possible to accommodate everyone. Over 1,200 students were expected to participate in this year’s fair.
More than 200 volunteers join forces every year to put the event together, Gee said, with the goal of “keeping the experience as authentic as possible.”
The event mission is to provide a rural ranch atmosphere, where students and teachers can learn some basics about the origins of the food supply, how foods are prepared for processing for human consumption, and about the agricultural community’s commitment to protecting the natural resources on which it depends.
Among the topics covered in 15-minute sessions by area experts were bees and pollination; weed identification; Gallatin Valley crops; farm safety; livestock, including sheep, cattle, horses, pigs and goats; and a little bit about the dairy industry, along with hands-on lessons on cow- and goat-milking.
As has been the case every year, two of the most popular activities were making ice cream in cans and taking hayrides behind teams of draft horses.