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3,300 learn about ag at MUSD school farm
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Reigning San Joaquin County Horsemen’s Association Junior Queen Jaylene Brown of Lathrop displayed her quarter horse at the Ag Venture field day on Thursday. - photo by VINCE REMBULAT / The Bulletin

Jaylene Brown was a third-grade student at Brock Elliott Elementary when she attended Ag Venture at the Manteca Unified school farm.

On Thursday, the Lathrop teen was a presenter at the free San Joaquin County-sponsored program designed to inform and educate youngsters about agriculture, healthy living and local agricultural products.

Brown, 13, is the reigning San Joaquin County Horsemen’s Association Junior Queen, displaying her quarter horse at Ag Venture.

She was joined by SJCHA Little Miss Brooke Casqueiro, who brought along her mini pony for the exhibit.

“It’s a lot fun,” said Brown, who allowed youngsters to get a closeup glance at the horse.

For some, it was their first encounter with an equine.

Ag Venture provided many firsts for third graders from Manteca Unified, Ripon Unified, Escalon Unified, Tracy Unified and Jefferson and Banta elementary school districts.

All told, some 3,300 youngsters were provided with just over two hours at the field day, listening to four 10-minute presentations consisting of soil and water conservation, health & nutrition, and two on different agriculture commodities.

Ag Venture – made possible by Specialty Crop Block Grant and Blue Diamond Growers – once again featured over 80 displays and required 550 local volunteers for the one-day field trip, according to organizer Krista McCoon.

This is her fourth year in that role. She’ll also coordinate the upcoming Ag Venture in Stockton (January) as well as the one in Lodi (March).

“There’s a level of excitement among the kids when they see what Ag Venture has to offer,” McCoon said.

She added that Ag Venture fulfills the curriculum for third-grade students, in particular, California’s Ag history.

Youngsters also learned about water usage.

Water Conservation’s Kathryn Schulz said it takes 37 gallons to make a whole peach and 19 gallons for a single apple.

As for an everyday food item such as a kid-size cheeseburger?

A McParland Elementary School youngster uttered 700 gallons, which, according to Schulz, was close enough.

“It takes 698 ½ gallons (of water) to make a hamburger,” she said.

Her model of the burger consisted of the bun (11 gallons), lettuce (1 ½ gallons), tomato (3 gallons), cheese (56 gallons) and the meat (616 gallons).

The latter is the water provided to the cattle for the meat, she said.

Ag Venture students, in addition, had a chance at a $1,000 college scholarship from Bonnie Plants.

They were each provided with a cabbage plant and will have 10 to 12 weeks to grow and take care of their plant. The goal here is to grow a colossal cabbage.

The Bonnie Plant Third-Grade Cabbage Program is nationwide and offers students with a chance to get a unique, hands-on gardening experience.