NOTE; Rebecca Wiggins is a Taylorville teenager that enjoys writing. She shared with us, her perception of being a city girl while attending last month's Illinois State Fair. Her story is below.
--Randal J. Miller, President, illinoisfarmradio.com
Last year, I had the opportunity to explore the agricultural aspects of the Illinois State Fair. I learned many things I hadn't previously known, and the experience was a great way to educate myself on the importance of agriculture in our community. This year, I wanted to continue to expand my knowledge by seeing some of the key agricultural sights the fair had to offer.
The Agriculture Tent seemed like the perfect place to start, for obvious reasons. It gave an excellent opportunity to learn about some of the specialty crops grown in Illinois, as well as watch demonstrations, and speak to experienced farmers about their day-to-day routines. There was also an activity primarily used to see if you had the strength to pull someone out of a grain bin. I suppose this wasn't an issue I had ever thought about, but after reading up on the topic, and also having someone speak to me on the importance of grain bin safety, I can understand the significance of knowing how to properly enter a grain bin, if need be. The Agriculture Tent also held hidden gems, like sweet corn, and delicious apple cider slushies!
If you ever get hungry at the Illinois State Fair, one of the best places to be is the Illinois Pork Producers Booth. There you will find incredible pork chop sandwiches and savory baked potatoes. The Illinois Pork Producers also offer a variety of educational resources to help everyone understand where our food comes from, as well as how important pork production is. Illinois is ranked fourth in the country in terms of pork production, and this creates approximately ten thousand five hundred jobs. Over eight million pigs are raised in Illinois annually, which amounts to around two billion pounds of pork.
Conservation World is a great place to learn more about wildlife in Illinois. This year, I decided to focus on fish and bees, two of the primary exhibits that were shown there. I learned about the value of pollination, and how we can help to create a functional ecosystem for pollinators to encourage them to live in our neighborhoods. In terms of fish, I was able to view a tank filled with Illinois native species and talk to experts on the topic.
Overall, the Illinois State Fair is always a fantastic place to educate yourself on the importance of agriculture, and you can have fun in the process!