By Karol Osborne, LSU AgCenter
SHREVEPORT, La. — AgMagic, the premier agricultural exhibit of the LSU AgCenter will open to the public Oct. 26 and run through Nov. 12 at the State Fair of Louisiana in Shreveport.
The annual event will feature Louisiana agriculture and commodities following their evolution from past to present. This year’s theme is “Highlighting Agriculture: An American Tradition.”
“We’re finding that youth, even rural youth who are surrounded by agriculture, have little or no concept of how their food gets from the farm to the table,” said LSU AgCenter 4-H regional coordinator Karen Martin.
Taking a hands-on approach through a series of interactive exhibits and activities, youth and adults can experience first-hand the importance of agriculture and how consumer demand impacts the products they use daily, she said.
Displays of black-and-white photos from the past alongside modern agricultural photos will help visitors see the evolution of animal and plant commodities while linking food and fiber to commonly used consumer products to better understand how consumer demand drives the agricultural industry.
Visitors are invited to take a self-guided tour and browse the eight interactive exhibits at their own pace anytime between 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Educational tours for school groups in grades three to six are set for Nov. 2, 3, 9 and 10. Registration is available online on the LSU AgCenter website at www.lsuagcenter.com/agmagic or through the State Fair of Louisiana website.
Highlighting the environmental, economic and social importance of agriculture, AgMagic exhibits will feature forests, field crops and livestock commodities produced by Louisiana farmers, ranchers and forest landowners.
The World of Wonder is a three-part interactive wildlife, forestry and wetlands exhibit focusing on safety and management.
Sport safety demonstrations will introduce three types of deer stands and show how to use them safely. Presentations also will illustrate how to plant forage crops like clover, wheat, oats and rye to provide supplemental food for deer.
In a water safety simulation, students will have a chance to practice how to enter and exit a kayak without tipping over.
Youth will enjoy more hands-on learning experiences playing the popular “Oh Deer” game in the forest management exhibit, which will feature a state and regional history lesson on forestry.
The Bugs Rule entomology station will feature a live ant farm and visitors can learn about the anatomy of ants and how ant colonies work.
In the Crop Corner, cotton is king. A scavenger hunt and relay race will emphasize various cotton products. Other highlights include a lesson on soil types, an exhibition cotton gin and a combine driving simulation.
Focusing on how food systems feed the world and how various agricultural jobs are responsible for getting food and other products from the farm to the home, the horticulture station will target crop production, processing, packaging, delivery and marketing.
A 1934 farm truck will mark the spot of a mini farmer’s market complete with fresh produce set up to offer visitors a chance to learn about food safety, canning and the nutritive value of fruits and vegetables.
To showcase many of the exciting educational projects offered to youth members through the 4-H club program, students can assemble a giant table-top puzzle, take part in a 4-H project walk or try their hand at lassoing a wooden horse with a hula-hoop.
The 4-H Mini Farm will have many live farm animals on display, and students can test their knowledge by playing a “Jeopardy”-style game highlighting different animal species.
The State Fair of Louisiana offers free parking and gate admission for AgMagic each weekday until 3 p.m.