By Galen Hawes

Some folks can talk about agriculture until the cows come home. They’ll have an opportunity to join the discussion from 1 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 23 on the East Central University campus in Ada.

On that day, ECU will host the first-ever Ag Fest event of its kind in this area. The Ag Fest will take place at the Bill S. Cole University Center, featuring booths and demonstrations for all ages.

The purpose is to teach event attendees more about farming and ranching.

“Our goal is to educate students, teachers, and any other interested parties about Oklahoma agriculture, the opportunities associated with agriculture, where their food comes from and how it is made,” said Jan Long, Ag Fest coordinator and ECU instructor in the Human Development, Hospitality and Food Science (HHFS) department.

ECU does not currently offer an agriculture major, but the university has a strong science and environmental science presence on campus – both areas of study related to agriculture.

“Students and guests will be shown how to use a solar oven with the ECU Environmental Health Science Club, how the Geographical Information System works in agriculture with Dr. Eric Howard, how to use scraps for regrowth or compost with Dr. Leah Dudley, and there will be time for students to ask local farmers and ranchers questions,” said Long.

The Ag Fest event is sponsored by the HHFS department, specifically students in the Event Promotions class.

“Ag Fest could help current and upcoming students in obtaining jobs in the agriculture field in the future,” Long said.

“After attending Ag Fest, I hope that people feel like they understand who is caring for your food and where it comes from.”

ECU instructors are looking forward to participating in the Ag Fest event as well.

“When I was asked if I would like to have a booth for Ag Fest, I started thinking about agriculture on a small scale in someone’s backyard or kitchen,” said ECU biology professor Dr. Dudley.

“Students that need to conserve food can recycle food scraps by growing their own or composting. Examples of the processes will be shown and handouts will be available.”

An event like this brings awareness to ECU, Ada, and surrounding communities. People will discover processes and information that they might not have encountered before, Dr. Dudley added.

“Using GIS in agriculture can determine the health of crops and help farmers to tell when is the best time to plant or harvest,” said Dr. Howard, ECU Environmental Health Sciences professor.

“I hope to show the versatility of GIS. I would love for students to want to know more about the system and possibly choose to take a GIS course after visiting my booth.”

The first-time Ag Fest event is free and open to the public. The University Center is located near the intersection of 13th and Francis streets in the southwest part of the ECU campus.

Ag Fest topics and participants include “Ag in the Classroom” with Audrey Harmon; Noble Foundation with Steve Upson; “Beyond Scraps” with Dr. Dudley and the ECU Ecology Club; GIS with Dr. Howard; Environmental Health Science Club; Pontotoc County 4-H; Oka’ Water Institute; Pontotoc County Farm Bureau with Greg Pierce; Farm Bureau Foundation with Burton Harmon; “Beef, It’s What’s for Dinner” with Heather Buckmaster; Beekeeping with Ernie Staggs; Ag Tourism with Micaela Danker; Great Plains Kubota; the Oklahoma Wheat Commission; and the OSU Extension Service.

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