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Virginia Cooperative Extension -
 Knowledge for the CommonWealth

AgEcon/NAMA Club Offers Successful AgExperience for State Fairgoers in 2002

Farm Business Management Update, December-January 2002/2003

By Dixie Watts Reaves, Alyssa Ennis, and Jessica Hynson

For the fifth consecutive year, the AgEcon/NAMA Club teamed with Atlantic Rural Exposition and a number of sponsors from the agribusiness industry to provide an educational and interactive agricultural exhibit for state fairgoers. The 2002 exhibit, located in the Old Dominion Livestock Center and entitled the AgExperience, was co-chaired by Agricultural and Applied Economics students Alyssa Ennis and Jessica Hynson. With the assistance of AgEcon/NAMA club members and faculty advisors, they created an educational display that focused on both crop and animal agriculture in Virginia. During the ten days of the fair, over 30 different Virginia Tech students and faculty members greeted fairgoers at the educational booth. Dressed in bright orange polo shirts and termed Ag Ambassadors, these individuals provided fairgoers with basic agricultural facts about Virginia and U.S. agriculture.

The AgExperince was included in the 2002 educational exposition field trip planning guide and was well-received by both students and teachers. This year's booth utilized a cut-out of a giant slice of pizza to help booth visitors make the connection between the foods they eat and the farm products from which the come. To further indicate the diversity of agriculture in Virginia, a large map of the state of Virginia displayed pictures of commodities in the areas where they are most prevalent in the Commonwealth. Two new additions greeted this year's fairgoers: a question and answer board offered an interactive way for booth visitors to learn about different grains produced in Virginia, while the "Hokie Economy," a water flow model, demonstrated the impacts of supply and demand on market prices.

The biggest draw of the AgExperience exhibit, as in years past, was a hands-on activity, geared to youth but enjoyed by fairgoers of all ages. Building on the concept of sand art, fairgoers created their own grain art in plastic honey jars, which they could take home as AgExperience souvenirs. Ingredients for this yearıs grain art included corn, wheat, soybeans, barley, and cottonseed. Over sixty-seven hundred grain art jars were created by fairgoers during the ten days of the fair. As they prepared to leave the exhibit, visitors were provided with a sticker declaring, "I'm AgExperienced!" with a picture of the Virginia Tech Hokie Bird driving a tractor. Additionally, fairgoers were provided with informational brochures with the AgExperience logo and Hokie Bird picture on the front and a list of sponsors on the back. Sponsors for the 2002 Ag Experience were

Platinum (at least $5,000): Virginia Farm Bureau Federation
Silver ($1,000 - $2,499): Virginia Agribusiness Council
Orange ($1 - $499): Cooperative Milk Producers Association

Virginia Council of Farmer Cooperatives
Delmarva Poultry Industry
Virginia State Dairymen's Association
Department of Agricultural & Applied Economics

The exhibit included a sponsor display board, where these organizations were recognized for their contribution to the 2002 AgExperience. For additional information about the AgExperience, or to become involved next year, contact Dixie Watts Reaves at or (540) 231-6153.

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