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Montana students get firsthand ranching experience with 'Ag Day'

Posted at 12:56 PM, May 11, 2022

EAST HELENA - About 150 East Helena students participated in AG Day at the Prickly Pear Simmental Ranch on Tuesday to better understand the inner workings of Montana ranches.

AG Days — which began in 2017 and was mirrored after Gallatin County’s AG Days — is meant to give young kids an inside look at what it takes to maintain a ranch.

Prickly Pear Simmental Ranch owner Loretta Burnham says that this day helps to open kids’ eyes to the work it takes to put food on the table.

“So, a lot of times kids just don't understand where their food is coming from. So, basically, this just gives them a chance to come out here and explore some of these stations. We've got everything from bees and sheep and cattle and just tells them where their food comes from, not that you just run into a grocery store and find your food,” Burnham said.

Burnham says that she loves doing this to see what kids will find out for the first time, "it's so fun to find out what is their favorite station, what are they learning, and the things that they take away from today. It’s stuff that you wouldn't even guess."

For example, fourth-grade student Emmett McGillivray learned how cattle and basketball are related, "they have a lot of different parts in their bodies and most of them are used. And that their skin’s made into basketballs, and baseballs and baseball gloves."

In addition to learning about cattle, students got an inside look into multiple aspects of a ranch such as beekeeping, horses, sheep, pigs, branding, ATV safety, and more.