While enjoying food at the Highland County Fair next week, visitors can become more “agriculturally literate” through an activity developed by the Ohio State University Extension Office and funded by the National 4-H Council and Chicago Mercentile Exchange Group.
Commodity Carnival was designed to educate kids about the effort and risks involved in raising livestock like cattle and pigs, Patty House, an educator for the Ohio State University Extension Office who specializes in 4-H youth development, told The Times-Gazette. House said that each participant is given a plastic Easter egg, which represents a steer. The egg is then filled with materials that represent the cost of feeding, treating, housing and transporting the steer. The egg has to reach a certain weight in order to go to “auction,” just as would be the case in real life. Prizes are awarded based on whether the participant loses “money,” breaks even or makes a profit after the “auction.”
“If they make money, they get a stress ball in the shape of a steer,” House said, “and that’s the prize that every kid wants.”
Participants — children and adults alike — go home with more than just a stress ball or a ribbon, though.
”[Commodity Carnival is about] the education of what it takes to get food from the farm gate to the dinner plate, but it’s also [about bringing] to life all of the career possibilities in the food and ag supply chain,” House said. “Farmers or livestock producers may be the first thing they think of, but there are a lot of people involved in getting final products like steaks and hamburgers.”
Commodity Carnival has been played at county fairs in multiple states since its creation in 2014, but this will be the first year it’s available at the Highland County Fair, Kathy Bruynis, County Extension Director for OSU and 4-H Youth Development Educator for Highland County, told The Times-Gazette.
The Commodity Carnival will be in the Family and Consumer Sciences building at the Highland County Fairgrounds on Monday, Sept. from 6-6 p.m., Tuesday, Sept3 from noon to 2 p.m., and Wednesday, Sept. 4 from 3-5 p.m. Commodity Carnival is also available as a mobile game called Risk Ranch, which can be found in the Apple Store and on Google Play.
Reach McKenzie Caldwell at 937-402-2570.