Rochelle students showcase agricultural careers at annual Ag Day

Agriculture students at Rochelle Township High School hosted an annual event for the community.
Ag Day showcases careers in the science, business and technology of agriculture. 
When Jacob Hackbarth was 8-years-old, he and his brother started with just two sheep.  They now have almost 40 head they show at county fairs all over the country.
“That’s what our hobby is,” Hackbarth said. “That’s what we do for fun.”
Agricultural Day at Rochelle Township High School gives students a chance to talk about farming and show their animals to visitors.
For Mark Hopkins, Co-chair of Ag Day, farming is a family tradition.
“My grandpa grain farmed,” Hopkins said. “My dad helped him.”
Hopkins then said, “My dad works for a farmer. I have beef cattle. I have a small herd of ten cows that we raise and sire show calves.”
Hopkins is planning his future around farming.
“This is my career,” Hopkins said. “I plan to go into majoring in beef embryology and all that stuff, so that way I can succeed in my own farm too.”
Mary Coglianese and her sister show rabbits at county fairs.  She loves to hear the reactions of elementary school kids when they first see them.
“Usually I get, ‘Oh is that a cat?’ or ‘Oh that’s a cute dog’ and then “Oh they’re so soft,’” Coglianese said. “The main one is, ‘That’s a cat.’”
“They really like the llamas because you know that’s more of an exotic animal they don’t get to see everyday,” Jacob Hackbarth said. “They just really enjoy coming out because a lot of them don’t get to see the rural part outside of Rochelle.”
The Rochelle FFA members say they hope events like Ag Day clear up some of the common misconceptions about farming.
“It’s not as easy as everyone thinks it is and it’s a lot more important,” Coglianese said.
Students in Rochelle’s agricultural classes and FFA say the fully expect to find career success as a result of agricultural education.

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