KEARNEY, Neb. — Elementary students at Kearney Public Schools are trading their pencils for a lasso and PE class for a jog with horses.

KPS third-graders participated in the annual Life on the Farm day Wednesday at the Buffalo County Fairgrounds. 4-H Youth Development Educator Kerry Elsen coordinates the event. She says it’s meant to show students how agriculture is woven into everyday products and activities.

“It’s incredibly important for all of us to know how those connections take place, especially in Nebraska with agriculture being our largest business,” Elsen said.

Beyond the horses and roping, students learned about the different uses for corn, checked out some farm equipment and heard about chickens, sheep and cattle.

For some, it was their first exposure to agriculture.

“It’s really great to be able to see their reaction to that first experience," Elsen said. "Then for them also to connect that to the rest of their life and how this may be playing a part in what happens every day for them.”

Local producers, business owners and 4-H staffers from other counties served as the presenters. The event has been going on for about 20 years now.

The ag education doesn’t stop at one day, though. Elsen has helped coordinate ag literacy instruction in the schools for the past eight years.

“Which also helps to just reinforce those connections and just give them a little bit deeper look into the things that they experienced today,” Elsen said.