East Grand Forks Ag Careers Day

Agriculture is all around us! It is Farm Camp Minnesota’s mission to increase agricultural literacy through experiences where students can interact first-hand with agriculture in Minnesota fields, industries and businesses and provide students with opportunities to ask questions to learn more about agriculture.

East Grand Forks Spring Ag Careers Day

On May 1, 2023, more than 150 ninth grade students loaded up four buses from East Grand Forks to attend Ag Careers Day. The day was split between four different stops: A & L Potato Company, Northland Community and Technical College with the University of Minnesota Crookston, American Crystal Sugar Company and Thompson Brothers Farm. Before starting their day, only 43.1% could confidently name five agricultural careers (other than farmers) in the world. With this figure in mind, the Farm Camp Minnesota experience began for these students.

What is 9th Grade Ag Careers Day?

It’s a day to get students engaged with Minnesota agriculture! This event allows students to see and tour different farm operations or agribusinesses and connect with people in different agriculture careers. Farm Camp Minnesota provides lesson plans for the educators to use prior to the event to provide baseline knowledge of what students will see and experience out on the farms.

Links to lesson plans that are pertinent to the day are provided about 4 weeks before. A pre and post survey is also sent to provide insight into what students learned during their farm visits.  

East Grand Forks Ag Careers Day
Joel Downs, American Crystal Sugar Co. engineering supervisor, was a tour guide on the East Grand Forks (Minnesota) Ag Day Farm Camp tour held May 1, 2023.Contributed / Mandi Jonk

A & L Potato Company

A & L Potato Company was established in 1941 in East Grand Forks, MN as a family operated business and continues to be to this day. Onsite they successfully grow, store, wash and package red and yellow potatoes. Students learned about potato processing then watched it themselves as unwashed potatoes were sorted and washed, and moved down the production line in a variety of plastic and paper bags.

American Crystal Sugar Company

American Crystal Sugar Company’s history dates back to the 1890s. They have three factories located in Minnesota and two in North Dakota with the headquarters in Moorhead, Minnesota. During this Farm Camp, students explored the East Grand Forks factory. The factory manager presented the wide variety of careers at American Crystal Sugar including accountants, engineers and chemists, mechanics, welders and many more. Students experienced wearing protective gear and received a guided tour of the factory to see the sugar beets being sliced and processed.

Northland Community and Technical College

Northland Community and Technical College partnered with the University of Minnesota Crookston to learn about the many different agricultural-related programs each school had to offer. Students had the opportunity to deliver a calf on NCTC’s demonstration model cow, give CPR to a demonstration model dog and practice administering vaccinations on the demonstration models as well.

Thompson Brothers Farms

The Thompson Brothers Farm is a fourth generation farm that grows wheat, soybeans and sugar beets north of East Grand Forks. Students had the opportunity to learn about crop production and the different types of machinery needed to raise and harvest crops. To the students' surprise, they learned about the extensive engineering needs in agriculture and the many types of high-tech equipment involved in planting and harvesting crops. 

East Grand Forks Ag Careers Day Wrap Up

As the third part of Farm Camp experiences, educators were provided career exploration activities for the students to complete. As a result of this experience, of the more than 150 students, 90.5% can now name five agricultural careers in the world other than farmers (in comparison to the 43.1% prior to the Farm Camp experience.) We look forward to providing more opportunities to continue to increase ag literacy in our youth!

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