MACON COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — Farmers typically learn from their parents and grandparents as they grow up and prepare to take over the farm, but the AgUcation program of the Macon County Farm Bureau has long been the standard for educating non-farm youngsters about the region’s agriculture.

5th graders in the Argenta-Oreana and Maroa-Forsyth districts could barely contain themselves when handed young chickens and goats at the AguCation day. It is all coordinated by Jennifer Fink of the Macon County Farm Bureau.

“Essentially, instead of inviting them out to the farm, we are bringing the farm to them,” Fink said. “The students from Macon County, all of the 5th graders are invited to attend and over these two days they will all be coming out for two-hour tours of agriculture. Essentially we are trying to tie together that farm-to-fork concept and also highlight all of the many careers that tie back to the ag field.”

“The biggest takeaway from this event are all of the careers,” Fink said. “Whenever they hear about farming, they are probably not going to be a farmer, but they may be an accountant, they may be a web designer. There is a multitude of careers that end up coming right back to the industry of ag and so it is very eye-opening for them to see what Mom or Dad or a loved one does; that the huge ag entities here in the area, why do they do what they do? What do they do with this corn and soy? Where do these products end up?”

The Macon County Soil and Water Conservation District was a collaborator to teach youngsters about water, soils, air, wildlife and pollution.

“In our session we were doing conservation Jeopardy, with a group of questions put together Jeopardy-style that addresses conservation,” said the Conservation District’s Angela Daily. “It’s important to keep the kids engaged in what they have learned at school and have some fun, too.”

Tyler Marsh of the AHW Deere dealership in Clinton anchored the section on farm equipment.

“(We’re) educating the kids today about where their food comes from,” Marsh said. “There are so many kids that are removed from the farm anymore and helping them learn where their food comes from is pretty important. Everybody should know where their food comes from. It’s pretty rare for kids that are removed from the farm to see this stuff up close, so helping them just kind of understand the big picture and the big process here is pretty exciting.”

And its all called AgUcation.