News Release Distributed 03/31/14
BATON ROUGE, La. – Although agriculture is a vital $11.8 billion industry in Louisiana, many children do not realize the role it plays in their daily lives.
AgMagic, an annual LSU AgCenter event that offers fun, interactive exhibits, seeks to help visitors make the connection between crops and animals raised on farms and items they use every day. It all takes place from April 28 to May 4 at the Parker Coliseum on the LSU campus.
AgMagic launched in 2004 to create a venue that brings the public to campus to see where food and fiber comes from. This event opens the eyes of children and adults alike to the importance of agriculture to their lives and the state they live in.
“Youth and adults who travel through AgMagic experience the diverse opportunities Louisiana agriculture offers,” said LSU Vice President for Agriculture Bill Richardson. “Agriculture provides the food you eat, the clothes you wear and the homes you live in.”
The event, which organizers expect will attract about 11,000 visitors, is open to scheduled school groups from April 28 to May 2. The public is invited to attend from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on May 3-4. Admission is free.
Visitors can tour seven portals that explore various facets of agriculture, from agronomic crops and insects to farm animals and good nutrition. New this year are exhibits on 4-H camping opportunities and "Measure Up," which features interactive activities on the importance of exercise and eating healthy foods.
The Body Walk, an interactive exhibit designed to combat childhood obesity, will be in the 4-H Mini Farm adjacent to Parker Coliseum Monday through Sunday, except Friday. Sponsored by the LSU AgCenter and the Blue Cross and the Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation, it is part of an overall program known as Smart Bodies.
Children have the opportunity to make rubbings of leaves, touch live crawfish and learn about how plants help protect Louisiana's eroding coast. They get to interact with live animals, including cows, sheep, pigs and goats. They also can watch eggs hatch and hold baby chicks, according to Frankie Gould, LSU AgCenter communications director.
AgMagic is designed to be a hands-on experience, which helps instill critical lessons about the significance of agriculture in the next generation. Providing the chance to pet a dairy cow, for example, can help children realize that milk comes from a cow, not their refrigerator. Learning that crayons are made with soybeans offers a path to understanding that many simple things they enjoy in life, such as coloring pictures, would not be possible without agriculture, Gould said.
The AgCenter is also launching AgMagic on the River this year, bringing AgMagic's fun learning experience to the New Orleans area on May 14-17.
For more information about AgMagic, visit www.LSUAgCenter.com/AgMagic.