Did you ever watch “Green Acres”? For those of you who were not fortunate enough to watch it the first time around, or in reruns over the years, it’s a sitcom that focuses on a New York lawyer and his rather sophisticated, socialite wife who move to Hooterville to run a farm they bought — site unseen.
Whenever there was a question about the farm, they’d turn to the local county agent, Hank Kimball. Mr. Kimball frequently lamented that one day computers would replace him. That day may be here.
We are trying something new at the fair and, in all honesty, it’s not to replace our Extension agents but to enhance the experience young members of 4-H have at the fair.
You may have heard about avian influenza, which is a disease that has wiped out poultry in other states and the reason behind the jump in egg and poultry prices around the country. In an effort to keep the disease from spreading to North Carolina, the state veterinarian’s office has temporarily suspended all poultry shows and exhibits at fairs, as well as the sale of poultry in the state from until January.
That’s because there’s concern that migratory birds may bring the disease into the state, and this is the best preventative measure to make sure the disease does not spread.
Consequently, that means we can’t have a 4-H chicken show at the fair — or can we? Fair board President Allen Faircloth was happy to try something new, so we will be using technology to have a chicken show.
Our young 4-H members will record videos where they handle their chicken, point out parts and explain what the strengths and weaknesses of their birds are. We may not be able to have the actual birds in the ring, but the competitors will still be there with video of chickens they have been raising since May.
We are using technology to enhance the learning experience for our youth, allow the show to go on and assist our Extension agents in continuing to teach youth about agriculture when, in the past, diseases would have halted the education process.
If you have a chance, come out to the Robeson Regional Agricultural Fair from Oct. 2 to Oct. 10 and see how we have worked together to make sure our youth still get top-notch agricultural education through hands-on opportunities. See Mr. Kimball, technology isn’t going to replace the Extension agent; it will merely enhance the opportunity to learn about agriculture.
Shea Ann DeJarnette is an Extension 4-H agent with North Carolina Cooperative Extension’s Robeson County Center. She can be reached at 910-671-3276 or by email at [email protected]