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story.lead_photo.caption Alyssa Bunting, 9, reaches through the fence to pet Shag, a 20-year-old horse ridden by Adeline Thessen, left. Thessen bought the horse, a cow and other animals for the children to pet and ask questions. Thursday was the Making Memories Day at the Jefferson City Jaycees Cole County Fair, during which a number of FFA and 4-H participants brought their pets and farm animals for young children to be able to touch and pet if they wanted. Photo by Julie Smith / News Tribune.

Children and their families made memories petting animals, learning how to milk a cow and playing in tubs of corn and soybeans Thursday morning at the Jefferson City Jaycees Cole County Fair.

Cole County 4-H and FFA held annual "Making Memories at the Fair" events with the goal of teaching children in the community about different aspects of agriculture.

It included a milk and cow station, tubs of corn and soybeans, a path between hay bales for children to walk through, and a petting zoo with horses, cows and goats.

Audrey Martin, the promotion education intern at Missouri Farm Bureau, taught children how to milk cows using a cow replica with water that comes out of the utters when squeezed. She told them where their milk comes from, the difference between white milk and chocolate milk, and how to make ice cream.

"We have food on our plates and drinks in our cups every day, so it's important to understand the process of how it gets there and the work that is put in, not only by farmers, but by processors and transporters, to get it to their plates," Martin said. "It helps them have a greater appreciation for what's on the dinner table and a better idea of how farming in the agriculture industry works."

Gallery: Jefferson City Jaycees Cole County Fair 2021

Bethany Prenger and Landon Bax, FFA advisers and agriculture education teachers at Cole R-5 High School in Eugene, set up the soybean station with the goal of promoting agriculture to young children.

"Every year, there are less farmers, so we want kids to experience life on the farm through these hands-on activities," Bax said.

And even if they're not future farmers, Prenger said, it's important for all children to learn where their food and clothes come from.

"Everybody uses agriculture byproducts, so it's important for them to be able to just see where it comes from, because a lot of them don't have that ongoing experience," she said.

Eugene FFA students played in the soybeans with younger children, scooping the soybeans with their hands and pushing them around the tub. Aly Haeffner, a sophomore FFA student in Eugene, said she hopes the event will encourage children to participate in FFA.

The event also included booths with organizations such as the Missouri Beef Industry Council and the United States Department of Agriculture for people to learn more about the organizations and agriculture. Children picked up coloring books and other educational materials to learn about where their food comes from, and Russellville FFA students taught children about the importance of putting tags on farm animals to identify and track them.

Leslie McCullough, an English teacher at Blair Oaks High School, attended the event for the first time with her two children, ages 4 and 5. She said they had a great time learning about agriculture through the fun activities, especially the petting zoo.

"My kids are totally new to agriculture, but they love it," she said. "I think my daughter would love to live on a farm."

McCullough said she appreciated the opportunity for her children to learn more about agriculture.

"I just appreciate them knowing where their food comes from just in terms of healthy living, healthy eating and understanding how to take better care of the earth," she said. "We all need to know some of those principles, even if we're not the ones doing the farming."

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