Livestock Exhibit Is More Than Birthing Babies

More attractions at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo's AgVenture make it a must attend event for kids, young and old. Housotn Public Radio's Pat Hernandez has the story.

The birthing center here inside Reliant Park has been expanded. In fact, there are some 20-species of livestock in breed row and between 30-to-50 animals that will come through the birthing center. That doesn't include birds, rabbits and bees. I noticed alot of activity around the hatching center with adults like teacher Faye Durham just as amazed as children with what was taking place.

"At my age, seeing something like this is really incredible. I've never seen a chicken hatch out of an egg. I heard about it when I was in school years ago...30-something years ago. But, I actually see a baby come out of an egg, and some that are starting to walk. It's amazing. I guess you heard me hollering 'Oh my goodness."

Elizabeth Greer is executive director of exhibits and attractions for the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. She says the central part of their mission is to promote the agriculture industry Texas. Since not everyone can live on a farm and have that hands on experience, Greer says its a opportunity for city folk to see what it's all about.

"Our goal is to bring em in to see everything from the true agricultural perspective. You know, farming...raising crops. We've got a great tractor exhibit that lets kids climb up on a tractor and pretend they're plowing a field, um, to seeing mother nature at work. We've got pigs, lamb and cows birthing in our birthing center this year, to seeing the different kinds of livestock that are on exhibit and competiting here at the livestock show."

Manager of Attractions is Melissa Meugge. She's come full circle after showing an animal at 12.

"That first interest in showing cattle led me to become an active member in 4H and FFA where I learned to appreciate the value of being part of an organization and being part of agriculture, and I was one of the very fortunate kids who recieved a $10,000 scholarship and was able go on and further my education. And now, about 8-years later, I am now manager of attractions and working with the show so, it's just an amazing opportunity to be able to give back to an organization who did so much for me."

Jala, a student in the Aldine ISD, says she was amazed at life introduced.

"I like the birthing center to see the animals' babies, animals about to give birth."

Teacher Deadrine Busby - Smith was even more impressed.

"This is absolutely incredible. I haven't seen anything like this in my life. It's incredible. Because you read about it but you never think you're gonna see it...and I've actually been able to see it today."

Elizabeth Greer says feedback from participants to AgVenture makes it all worthwhile.

"I make sure I get down here five or six times a day. I leave my desk, leave the paperwork behind and come down here and see what it's all about...what all the work, what all the hard hours, what all of our volunteers put all of their extra time and hours in for. This is what it's about. Seeing the excitement on the kids' face as they experience these things for the first time."

The AgVenture Experience is located inside Reliant Center. PH, Houston Public Radio News

Bio photo of Pat Hernandez

Pat Hernandez

Reporter

Pat Hernandez is a general assignments reporter who joined the KUHF news staff in February of 2008...