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Kasson-Mantorville hosts annual Ag Day dinner

By Janet Kubat Willette

Date Modified: 03/28/2013 8:58 PM

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KASSON, Minn. — Kasson-Mantorville's Intro to Ag class celebrated Ag Day on March 12 by inviting the community to dinner.

About 250 people were served pulled pork sandwiches, cheese, potato salad, peas, chips and ice cream bars in a school gym.

The supper was rescheduled due to a March 5 snow day, but that actually worked in the student's favor, said Intro to Ag teacher and FFA adviser Lori Pagel. The students were able to secure more door prizes and do more planning with an additional week.

The school's Ag Day celebration traces back to 2007 when a community breakfast was held. The breakfast was held twice and it's been a supper since, Pagel said.

National Ag Day is celebrated this year on March 19. It's a day to celebrate agriculture.

Kasson-Mantorville's National Ag Day Appreciation Dinner is a thank you to those involved in agriculture, said Blake Fate, a freshman who is involved in FFA.

Its purpose is also to spread the word about what agriculture is and why it's important, added Cayden Johnson, a KM freshman who's in the Intro to Ag class.

Commodity booths ringing the cafeteria tables contained information on pork, corn and soybean production, dairy farming and turkey growing. Poster boards filled with information about Minnesota companies involved in agriculture. Old Dutch, Hormel and Nash Finch Company were among those featured.

Her middle school class assembled the poster boards, Pagel said.

It was up to the Intro to Ag class members to figure out how to display those poster boards and set up the entire gym for the dinner. Freshman Abraham Berg was on the set up committee.

Berg, who's in both FFA and the Intro to Ag class, said the set up committee wanted to make the gym look as nice as possible, while making it convenient to walk around and visit with the students staffing the commodity tables and each other.

"What really surprised me is how many people like to stop and talk," Berg said.

Sophomore Tikila Sinclair, one of three upperclassmen in the Intro to Ag class and event co-chair, said she took the Intro to Ag class because she wanted to learn more about agriculture.

"I didn't even know about the dinner until I took the class," she said.

Planning the dinner and a petting zoo are two of the tasks of the Intro to Ag class, which is open to students in grades nine through 12 at Kasson-Mantorville High School.

The menu is planned based on donations. Each student is responsible for soliciting donations for the meal or door prize.

Students grow their leadership and speaking skills during the Intro to Ag class, Sinclair said.

Students also staff the event, rotating around the different stations, from greeting people, answering their questions at the prize table and serving food.

Food service workers at the school provided guidance, telling students when it's time to refill the cheese platter or get a new bowl of potato salad.

FFA members staff the event, too. Their purpose is to promote FFA and make people aware of FFA activities in the community, said Jeremiah Nowak, a KMHS senior and the KM FFA reporter.

They were also available to answer questions, said junior Bryce Seljan, an FFA member, including those on the agriculture facts quiz Intro to Ag students handed out when people walked in.