When more than 30% of the U.S. population was engaged in farming, people knew what agriculture was and where food came from. Over the past three generations, there’s been a significant change — and even states that might appear rural are finding that the general population has lost touch with farming.
In Wyoming, the challenge has grown as the nature of the state’s population has changed, but Wyoming Farm Bureau and the Young Farmer & Rancher Committee for the state is working to fill that educational gap — and they’re doing it in the schools.
Now in its 14th year, the Ag Books for Kids program is a grassroots effort of the county Farm Bureaus in Wyoming to help educate children about agriculture.
Raenell Taylor, WyFB Young Farmer & Rancher Promotions Subcommittee chairwoman, explains that “sharing our stories as farmers and ranchers is more important in today’s day and age than ever. The Ag Books for Kids program gives us an opportunity to make a difference for agriculture in Wyoming.”
Students from across the state learned more about ag again this year and were recently recognized for their participation in the 2018 WyFB program, which includes contests in three areas — a Coloring Contest for kindergartners and first-graders; a Poster Contest for second- and third-graders; and a Creative Writing Contest for fourth- and fifth-graders.
COLORFUL POSTER: The Wyoming Ag Books for Kids State Poster Contest winner for 2018 is Packard Carson, with this depiction of a farm and ranch. Packard is a third-grade student.
And there's a book
This year, county Farm Bureaus across the state donated 678 copies of “Ranching … It’s All About Family,” written by Sheridan and Rianna Chaney. These twins authored the book, and their mother, Rebecca Long Chaney, edited it. The book introduces several new ranching practices to readers, like calving sheds and solar panels to pump water. It also highlights the many faces of the American ranch family.
Students could read the book and then participate in a contest to show what they learned about agriculture as part of the program. The state winners in each of the three contests all received a $50 gift card from WyFB and their own copy of “Ranching … It’s All About Family.” The book was signed by Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead. State runners-up in each of the contests received a $25 gift card from WyFB and an agriculture book.
Here is a list of the winners:
Wyoming Ag Books for Kids State Coloring Contest. Uinta County first-grader Dawson Hutchings was the state winner of the coloring contest. Dawson attends Mountain View Elementary School, and his teacher is Jenilee Schwartz.
Lilliann Otto of Big Horn County was the state runner-up. She is a first-grader at Laura Irwin Elementary in Basin.
Wyoming Ag Books for Kids State Poster Contest. Packard Carson of Goshen County won the state poster contest. Packard is a third grader at LaGrange Elementary School.
The state runner-up was Dylan Chamley, a second-grader from Fremont County.
Wyoming Ag Books for Kids State Creative Writing Contest. Crook County fourth-grader Jaylin Mills won the creative writing contest. Jaylin is a student at Sundance Elementary School.
Angel Villegas of Crook County was the state runner-up.
“Educating elementary students about agriculture is key to our future in agriculture,” Taylor concludes. “It is very rewarding each year to see the elementary students improve upon the knowledge they are learning about agriculture, while also helping them to put a face with farmers and ranchers.”
In its history, the Ag Books for Kids program has donated nearly 7,300 books to elementary schools. The aim of the program is to educate students about agriculture and its importance to everyone.
Source: Wyoming Farm Bureau