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AgFest: An udder-ly educational experience
Lathrop Elementary School students in Molly Lowe’s third-grade class learned about milking a cow at Tuesday’s Ag Venture at the Manteca Unified school farm. - photo by VINCE REMBULAT / The Bulletin

How many gallons of milk can a dairy cow produce in one day?

Rachael Fleming of the San Joaquin Farm Bureau Federation answered that question for third-grade students attend Ag Venture Tuesday.

“Eight to 10 gallons per day,” she said during her presentation, using a mechanical cow named ‘Natalie’ at the annual field day event held at the Manteca Unified School Farm.

Fleming, who is a Marketing & Administration Program Assistant for the local farm bureau, enjoyed educating youngsters on the dairy cattle not to mention anything ag related.

“This is a great opportunity for students to learn about ag,” said Lathrop Elementary School third-grade teacher Molly Lowe, who was attending Ag Venture for the second straight year. “Most haven’t been on a farm or around farm animals.”

Her students had a chance to milk ‘Natalie.’

The interaction sessions were part of Ag Venture – estimated attendance was a record 3,700 students from Banta, Jefferson, New Jerusalem, Tracy Unified, Escalon Unified, Ripon Unified and Manteca Unified.

Lowe said her students enjoyed the various presentations, from rabbits to making healthy choices, to being up close with livestock such as pigs, cows and sheep.

Some of the presenters also enjoyed entertaining those in attendance.

Steve Algori found a hobby about four or five years ago – training border collies.

He brought three of the working dogs, Hope, 9, Quinn, 7 and Cade, 3 to the demonstration of herding sheep.

“The grownups have as much fun as the kids,” said Algori, who is retired with a five-acre ranch in Oakdale.

MUSD once again played a big role in Ag Venture. 

Students from BE.Tech Charter High School put together a few demonstrations. FFA students from some of the local chapters also assisted in Ag Venture, which is a partnership consisting of SJC, San Joaquin Farm Bureau, California Women of Agriculture, UC Cooperative Extension, US Department of Agriculture, and SJC Office of Education

Nutrition Services provided fresh fruits for the taking, with several students from Cheryl Beeler’s Intro to Health Care lending a hand in the distribution.

The primary goals for Ag Venture are educating students on the variety and health benefits of locally-produced farm products not to mention giving students a greater understanding and appreciation of local agriculture.

Ag Venture will be held in Stockton (SJC Fairgrounds) on Jan. 15 and Lodi (Lodi Grape Festival) on Feb. 27.