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Agricultural Education Opportunities Debut at the 2014 Iowa State Fair

The 2014 Iowa State Fair will feature expanded agricultural education, including new activities focused on corn, soybeans, hydroponics and dairy cattle. This year’s “Amazingly Amusing” celebration runs Aug. 7-17.

This year, fairgoers of all ages can learn about corn and soybeans at the John Deere Agriculture Building, thanks to a new hands-on experience called ‘Farm with Us.’ The interactive learning destination allows visitors to touch bushels of corn and soybeans and learn how crops grow. A green screen will transport families to Iowa farms for the perfect photo op. A complimentary photo will be emailed to visitors, as well as printed.

A short walk from the Agriculture Building, the Animal Learning Center features two new educational experiences. The new hydroponics display teaches young and old alike about the soil-less growing of plants, while the ‘Thank a Farmer Wall’ invites anyone to leave a message for the hard-working farmers of Iowa.

The newly expanded ‘Boulevard of Dairy Breeds,’ located in the Putney Family Cattle Barn, will focus on the six main breeds of dairy cattle in Iowa with new hands-on activities, cattle, baby calves and the ‘I Milked a Cow’ display.

New to the fair is the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Commodity Carnival, located in the Bruce L. Rastetter 4-H Exhibits Building. Aimed at third- through eighth-graders, this activity teaches kids what it takes to raise a beef animal and how to discover profit or loss. The carnival will be operating Aug. 8-16, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Just north of the Animal Learning Center is Kids’ Zone, featuring the Blue Ribbon Kids’ Club Tent and the new location of ‘Seed Survivor.’ Seed Survivor teaches kids about how seeds interact with the environment. Each participant can plant their own sunflower seed to take home and grow. Blue Ribbon Kids’ events begins at 10 a.m. every weekday, and features make-and-take crafts for kids based around day-specific themes like plants, dairy cows and baby animals.

Returning to the 2014 fair are kid-friendly favorites — ‘Ag-Venture Discovery Trail’ and ‘Grape Getaway.’ Located next to the Animal Learning Center, ‘Little Hands on the Farm’ is celebrating its 10th anniversary. Through this interactive adventure, kids can learn what it is like to do chores on a farm and earn play money to spend at the General Store.

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