$5000 grant benefits agriculture students


The Etowah County Soil and Water Conservation District and the Etowah County Farmers Federation received a $5000 grant from the Coosa Valley RD&C on Friday, July 25.

The grant was presented at the Etowah County Soil and Water Conservation District in Gadsden and was used to purchase a portable cotton gin and touch screen computers for the Ag in Action trailer.

The Ag in Action trailer travels around to local schools, fairs, and agricultural events for free within Blount, DeKalb, Etowah, Marshall, St. Clair, Calhoun, and Cherokee counties.  

Senator Phil Williams, Rep. Becky Nordgren and Rep. Craig Ford’s Constitutive Services Director Brett Johnson attended the presentation and were able to explore the Ag in Action trailer.

“One of the most exciting things about this grant to purchase the cotton gin is that not only do we get to help the Etowah County Farmer’s Federation but it’s really our local tax dollars coming to work,” said Williams. 

Nordgren added, “It’s a pleasure to support and do everything I can do for agriculture in our area. This particular display of cotton and how it’s processed is very educational and I’m just proud to be a part of it.” 

Inside the Ag in Action trailer is a cotton combine simulator, which allows agriculture students to play videos that simulate different types of fields like cotton, corn, soybean, hay and timber. 

“Whichever field we’re at that day they can choose that video to play,” said Jennifer Childers, Etowah County Soil and Water Conservation District.  “Kids get in, the seats vibrate, and they can actually get a feel of the real thing like they’re actually riding.”

Williams and Johnson took turns trying out videos on the life-like simulator.

Childers said while the kids are waiting on their turn to drive the machine, they can play agriculture games on the computers inside the trailer. 

The walls inside the trailer exhibit pictures of actual farms from the seven different counties it visits. 

Different types of seeds are on display inside the trailer for students to study, along with an oversize hamburger that teaches students about the different parts of a fast food burger. 

“The kids think their hamburger comes from McDonalds; we show them that each part actually comes from people’s farms. We can run the cotton gin and show them how to gin a cotton.” 

Johnson said of the Ag in Action program, “Rep. Ford understands that education in agriculture is vital to sustaining our economy and growing our communities.Anytime that we can show support for our local farmers and future farmers, we know that we are making a smart investment into the future.”

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