When the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences advertises Farm Animal Days as a rain or shine event, it means it. And it’s a good thing, because even on a drizzly April 17, the third day of the 2015 iteration of the event, and during the rainy weather of the previous two days, the undaunted crowds arrived. Vehicles lined up along Lake Wheeler Road from both directions to get to the Beef Educational Unit, where the showcase of farm animals and equipment and other agriculture education exhibits was on display.
Farm Animal Days, held annually at the Beef Unit at the Lake Wheeler Road Field Laboratory, has become a must-see attraction for area school children, who come in busloads during the event’s three days. There, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day, young visitors had a chance to see and touch farm animals, climb aboard tractors, and learn about agriculture at exhibits and daily special presentations, such as from the Mobile Dairy Classroom. Children and adults alike also enjoyed free Howling Cow Ice Cream, made at NC State.
Among animals available to touch were chicks, turkeys, ducks, pigs, sheep, goats and rabbits. Also on view were a beef cow and calf, dairy cow and horses, including a mare and her foal.
“We had 10,221 people come through the door for this event,” said Brent Jennings, CALS 4-H Youth Livestock Extension specialist. “It is truly a great event in offering the unique opportunity to educate the public about animal agriculture.”
Hosted by the Lake Wheeler Road Field Laboratory, Farm Animal Days is organized by the CALS departments of Animal Science, Prestage Poultry Science, and Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences. CALS students from those departments were on hand at the animal displays to assist children in interacting with some of the animals and to answer questions about them.
Among those students were Ashley Martin, an animal science major from Star, who held baby sheep for children to pet, and Bradley Glover, animal science and agricultural education major from Goldsboro, who tended the pen where visitors met young pigs.
Also greeting guests was Dr. Todd See, head of the CALS Animal Science Department.
Sponsors and supporters for 2015 Farm Animal Days included Wake County Farm Bureau, NC State Animal Science Club, NC State Poultry Science Club, NC Agricultural Foundation Inc., NC State’s Howling Cow Ice Cream, NC Egg Association, Inc. and NC Pork Council. – Terri Leith
Scenes from 2015 Farm Animal Days: