By Janet Schmidt Osceola County Farm Bureau Students across the county enjoyed Project RED (Rural Education Days), which took place on May 20 and 21. The sun was shining, but the temperatures were on the chilly side as fourth graders\u00a0from Reed City, Marion, Evart, Pine River and Trinity Lutheran School spent their\u00a0day split between Gingrich Farms and Rose Lake Park. \u201cThis is the 23rd year for the event,\u201d said\u00a0Jake Stieg, Osceola County 4-H Coordinator. \u201cProject Red is coordinated through the collaborate efforts of MSU\u00a0Extension, 4-H, Osceola County Farm Bureau and the Gingrich family.\u201d \u201cSo many children have no exposure to agriculture and natural resources,\u201d said Janet\u00a0Schmidt, with the Osceola County Farm Bureau. \u201cRural Education Days is a chance for kids to\u00a0have a hands-on-experience. With Rose Lake Park across the road from Gingrich Farms, it is an\u00a0ideal spot to host Project RED.\u201d Students learned first-hand about the local agriculture industry by visiting learning\u00a0stations at Gingrich Farms. They toured the robotic milking system that has been in operation\u00a0for three years and saw cows travel from the holding pen into the parlor to be milked. Amy\u00a0Gingrich explained how robots milk each cow and a computer tracks and records how much\u00a0milk each cow gives. Brandon Gingrich talked about the amount and types of feed fed to the\u00a0dairy cows. As always, the most popular station was the baby calves. Lori Nicklas explained\u00a0how the baby calves are raised. Several students got to touch a calf and let them suck their\u00a0fingers. Another learning station was hosted by Effie Jack, MSU Extension SNAP-Ed Instructor. She\u00a0talked to the students about seeds bringing us life, growing plants, health and nutrition. Jerry\u00a0Lindquist with MSU Extension told the students that the manure they smell is really money to\u00a0farmers. The 400 cows on the Gingrich farm make about 4,800 gallons of manure daily. Farmers\u00a0use the manure to fertilize their ground, saving them thousands of dollars. At Rose Lake Park, Jim Maturen told the students how turkeys were almost\u00a0extinct in the early 1900s. Turkeys are now in almost every county in Michigan thanks to\u00a0first being planted in the Baldwin area and parts of Osceola County in the 1950s.\u00a0Renee Sanders, MSU Extension SNAP-Ed Instructor, talked to the students about\u00a0nutrition. \u201cMilk is a good source of calcium, protein and Vitamin D,\u201d said\u00a0Sanders. Students also saw a demonstration how to make a fruit smoothie using a blender on a stationary bike. Mr. Coppick, a\u00a0fourth grade teacher, peddled the bike and had smoothies within five minutes. \u201cThis is place,\u00a0base, learning experience for the students,\u201d said Mr. Coppick. \u201cI just started teaching in\u00a0Reed City in December and this is my first time to attend Project RED. This is an excellent hands-on event for the students.\u201d Tasha Lapinski, MAEAP technician, did a presentation on Fun with Bees. Students got\u00a0to see her bee hive and she demonstrated how to extract honey from the hive. Last year about 40 percent\u00a0of the bee population died. Diseases are causing us to lose many of our honey bees and this is a\u00a0real problem for agriculture she said. A popular station was the Dog Gone Labs with Mark Romanack and his family. Students\u00a0were able to interact with his dog Mason and learned tips on how to train a dog. Osceola County Sheriff's\u00a0Deputy Andy Salinas talked to the students about recreational safety and the importance\u00a0of wearing a helmet and goggles when riding ORV\u2019s. Life jackets are a must when riding in a boat. The Osceola County Farm Bureau appreciates the many hardworking volunteers and the behind-the-scenes helpers and the generous sponsoring businesses that helped make the annual event possible.