OKEECHOBEE — Okeechobee County Ag-Venture, Inc. is a non-profit organization that provides local fourth grade students (public, private, and home schooled) an annual, free program so that students gain experience, understanding, and an appreciation of our local agricultural industries. Funded entirely by donations and run by volunteers, the 2023 event was held Jan. 11 and 12 at the Okeechobee Agri Civic Center.
Upon their arrival, students were each provided with a backpack and reusable water bottle provided by the Okeechobee Soil and Water Conservation District. Students were then able to check out tractors provided by Everglades Equipment Group, experience various livestock feed commodities like corn and cottonseed provided by Syfrett Feed Company and learn about soil and water conservation practices.
During the event, students rotate through seven different stations to learn about alligators, beef, bees, citrus, dairy, poultry, and vegetables. Each station provides an opportunity for interactive, hands-on learning through various activities such as making beeswax candles, butter, and a garden in a glove. They also have the opportunity to squeeze their own oranges for juice and taste a fresh made omelet and fried gator tail.
Bagged lunches were provided by the Okeechobee Area Agri Council, and students were entertained by members of the Okeechobee Brahman FFA Chapter during the lunch break.
Ag Venture would not be possible without funding from groups like the Children’s Services Council of Okeechobee and support from the Okeechobee County Board of County Commissioners. Other donors include Cal-Maine Foods, Okeechobee Farm Bureau, Farm Credit of Florida, Florida Dairy Farmers, Florida Trophy Gators, H.E. Hill Foundation, Walpole Inc., Eli’s Western Wear, Lykes Bros. Inc., Okeechobee Feed, Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office, Publix Charities, Steve Walker, and United Feed Co-op.
The Ag Venture Board would like to thank all of the above mentioned sponsors and the approximately 100 community volunteers who helped ensure a fun, educational event!