Linda Mumma reporting

STOCKTON (CBS13) — More than 3,500 third graders took over the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds Wednesday to learn about agriculture.

According to the Ag Commissioner’s office, the county is one of the most productive agricultural regions in the world. It’s a $2.5 billion industry.

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Wednesday’s countywide educational event brought together government resource agencies and private organizations to demonstrate how agriculture is vital to the community and how each organization plays an important role.

Organizers call it “AgVenture.”

“It actually correlates with their curriculum. Third-grade students learn about their county’s history and agriculture is deeply enriched in this county’s roots,” said AgVenture Coordinator Krista McCoon.

The program draws thousands of students from three different school districts to the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds to learn about food, farming, and physical fitness.

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“We have everything from square dancing to help them lead active lifestyles, to tractors, farm equipment. We have fruits and vegetables, we even have mosquito abatement out here so we’re really trying to provide a well-rounded program where there’s something for everyone,” added McCoon.

The students spent about two hours listening to presentations on topics such as soil and water conservation.

“I didn’t know that it takes lots of water to make a little hamburger,” said Pitman Elementary School third-grader Natalie Lucero.

They attended another presentation on health and nutrition.

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“I learned that farmers use almonds to make candy,” said student Mateo Callavo.

The students also heard two other presentations on agricultural commodities produced in San Joaquin County.

“We’re teaching the kids a little bit about tractors because most of them don’t know about where their food comes from or what these (tractors) even do, so it’s very informative for the kids and they seem to enjoy it,” said Rob Allen of N&S Tractors of Stockton.

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The kids got to visit more than 60 interactive booths.

“Each one offers something uniquely different,” said McCoon. “At this particular event, we have a gentleman riding longhorn cattle, so I think that’s a pretty unique opportunity for these students. I’ve never seen that.”

All of them left the day-long event with new knowledge about the role farming plays in the community.

“We’re seventh in the nation in terms of agricultural production and so, I think it’s really important students learn where their food comes from,” said McCoon.

The program is one of three AgVenture events in the area. There’s another scheduled for next month for students in the northern part of San Joaquin County.

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In total, 10,000 students, teachers and chaperones take part in the annual event which is made possible by about a thousand volunteers.