Posted September 17, 2018
Rebecca Wiggins, a 16-year-old writer from Taylorvillle, attended the Illinois State Fair last month. She provided illinoisfarmradio.com this article on her perception of the Fair from a city girl's perspective.
Here is Rebecca's article:
Attending the State Fair has always been an entertaining and enjoyable experience as a long-time resident of central Illinois. As I have grown I've discovered that there is much more to explore than just unique food combinations and thrill-inducing rides. This past week I have had the opportunity to venture through the fairgrounds learning more about agriculture and what makes this industry vital to Illinois.
Living in downtown Taylorville for the majority of my life, I did not have much experience when it came to farming, or even realizing how valuable the agricultural industries are to our area. I knew of agriculture and farming from observing our corn and beans growing throughout the summer along Route 48, or watching the grain trucks and tractors pull into the elevator on Route 29. I simply did not realize the impact that agriculture nor those corn and beans had on our global economy.
On Thursday, August eighth, I was able to attend the Butter Cow unveiling in the Dairy Building on the grounds of the fair. The reveal was preceded by a press conference, which taught me a bit more about the origins of the creation, as well as why it is such a long-time and noteworthy fair attraction each year. I learned that Illinois has over six hundred dairy farms that generate thousands of jobs. The Butter Cow has been a crowd favorite for nearly a hundred years, bringing the dairy industry to the forefront and allowing a public display of thanks to our farmers.
In a quest for even more knowledge, I looked to my friends, the Future Farmers of America (FFA), who brought a new attribute to learning, enthusiasm. I decided to hop onto the Ag Tour cart, which was being pulled by a tractor, and my journey began. The tour was extremely informational, traveling across the fairgrounds explaining several aspects of farming along the way. From dairy farming, to horse racing, to the traditional grain industry, agriculture was affirmed as the heart of the Illinois economy. The guides providing the narrative made the tour interesting, telling jokes and asking many questions to ensure we were entertained as we deepened our knowledge. I learned that successful farmers must be self-motivated and hard-working, giving me a newfound respect for them. I also discovered, after our tractor had a minor issue, that a golf cart can pull a tractor and a cart full of people!
The final stop of my pursuit to learn more about the industry was Conservation World, which was filled with educational kiosks focusing on topics across the spectrum from fishing to natural resources. Children were able to engage in fishing clinics and study about Illinois sport and native species, even participating in a hands-on experience which allowed them to touch the fish. In the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Education Tent, we were gifted with a pack of seeds to plant to start a pollinator garden, and learned more about the significance of natural pollinators. IDNR Forest Resources specialists were more than happy to assist in answering any questions I had about keeping our wildlife protected, and also gave me additional information on this topic.
The Illinois State Fair was an exceptional and enjoyable experience! I learned more than I ever could've anticipated in this fun and adventurous setting. I now have a profound level of appreciation for agriculture and the world around me thanks to the farmers of Illinois.