University of Maryland Extension

AGNR Terps Provide Education, Fun at Maryland State Fair

Elizabeth Lavin, junior animal science major, holds a newborn piglet at the 2015 Maryland State Fair.
Image Credit: 
Hannah Smith, Edwin Remsberg Inc.

Year after year, faculty, staff, students and alumni from the University of Maryland College of Agriculture & Natural Resources (AGNR) help make the 11 days of the Maryland State Fair fun-filled and educational for all ages and 2015 was no exception. From welcoming newborn animals into the world in front of a live audience, to engaging kids in interactive lessons about where their food comes from, to showcasing some of the finest dairy cows in the state, the College of AGNR was a heavyweight presence once again at the state fair which ran from Friday, August 28th until Monday, September 7th at the state fairgrounds in Timonium.

Be sure to visit our 2015 State Fair Photo Gallery to see some of the best sights from the fair this year. Some of the highlights included:

Birthing Center Babies:

Dozens of piglets and calves were welcomed into the world in front of a live audience inside the Birthing Center throughout the 11 days of the state fair. Led by AGNR Professor Emeritus Tom Hartsock, PhD, animal science students worked around the clock overseeing and assisting with the live births and taking care of the babies and their mothers. They also answered questions from fairgoers about the animals and encouraged children to pet the newborn piglets, who didn’t seem to mind all the attention!

Little Ladybug:

Each year, a newborn calf is showcased alongside the UMD dairy herd inside the Cow Palace at the state fair. Fairgoers are charged with brainstorming names for the calf during the first weekend of the fair and then get a chance to vote on the top contenders during the second weekend. This year, Ladybug proved to be the winning name for the female calf, beating out other top choices like Bella, Pickles and Lady Baltimore. Ladybug will make a return visit to the Maryland State Fair in 2016 to demonstrate how much the cows grow in just one year. Ladybug won’t be so little by then!

4-H Scholarships:

For the first time this year, the College of AGNR awarded $1,000 scholarships to the Senior High overall individual winners in dairy judging, horticulture judging, livestock judging, poultry judging and rabbit judging at the state fair. The Maryland 4-H Foundation also offered a matching $1,000 scholarship to these competition winners. The offers awards were formally presented to the students during a ceremony held on September 5th at the fairgrounds. In order for a student to receive the full $2,000 in scholarships, he or she must apply and be accepted to the University of Maryland and pursue a four-year degree from the College of AGNR.

U-Learn Farm:

Children were able to play in a corn pit, see what it feels like to sit in a giant piece of farming equipment called a combine, try an interactive touch-screen game focused on where milk comes from, touch oyster shells, make grain art jars, learn about what crops grow in Maryland and MUCH more thanks to the vast array of free, educational activities available inside U-Learn Farm. 

Congratulations and thanks to all the Terps who helped make the 2015 Maryland State Fair a success again this year!

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