Fifth grade students at Marlinton Elementary School participate in an experiment in the Ag Lab – a mobile agriculture lab sponsored by the West Virginia Farm Bureau. The Ag Lab travels to schools all over the state, allowing students to experience agriculture first-hand. S. Stewart photo

Suzanne Stewart
Staff Writer
 
It would be impossible to take students to visit the various farming operations and agricultural facilities in West Virginia, so the Farm Bureau created the Ag Lab – a mobile laboratory where students can learn about the impact agriculture has on the state, country and world.

Last week, the Ag Lab was parked at Marlinton Elementary School and students spent time doing experiments and learning about the top 10 agriculture commodities in West Virginia – grains, dairy, forestry, vegetables and fruit, sheep, beef, poultry, honey bees, horses and swine.

Donetta Sisler, of Preston County, has been a teacher with the Ag Lab for six years and led the students through several experiments to show them how important agriculture is. After the experiments, Sisler said she shows the students how every day items are connected to the top 10 agriculture commodities.

 “After we do this experiment, we go around and look at the displays,” Sisler said. “There’s all kinds of interesting things on here. For example, I say, ‘how many of you know someone who’s diabetic?’ Everyone does. That insulin comes from a pig and a cow.”

 Each of the 10 commodities has its own display on the walls of the Ag Lab and shows just a few of the ways each of them is used, especially in ways not commonly known. 

“Aspirin has wood in it,” Sisler said. “There’s all kinds of things that come from agriculture.”

 For more information on the Ag Lab, visit www.wvfarm.org/AgMobile.asp