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Boosting ag knowledge in the schoolsBoosting ag knowledge in the schools

Governor of Wyoming has declared this week - Ag Literacy Week - to promote better farming knowledge in the schools.

March 8, 2016

4 Min Read

Just where does food come from? What misconceptions are happening in school because children don't have access to knowledge about the advancements in agriculture that have led to an abundant, and safe, food supply? Answering those questions requires a level of 'literacy' that may need a little help.

“It is important for kids to learn that food in fact does not come from the grocery store, it is a stop on the way,” Wyoming Governor Matt Mead stated during a February meeting with Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation members. “[Food production] requires not only the ability to have generations in agriculture, but then to have the lands and the means and the policies to allow farmers and ranchers to grow food.”

To that end, Governor Mead designated this week as "Wyoming Agricultural Literacy Week" with the aim of bringing recognition of the importance of the state's agriculture to school children.

Educating Wyoming school children about agriculture is the goal of the Wyoming Farm Bureau Young Farmer and Rancher Committee “Ag Books for Kids” project. 2016 marks the twelfth year of the project. The WyFB YF&R Committee organizes the project and the county Farm Bureaus across the state donate agriculture books each year to Wyoming elementary school libraries.

During the proclamation signing Feb. 25 the Governor emphasized the importance of educating about agriculture through literacy.

Governor Mead commented: “If people don’t understand where their food comes from then they also won’t understand the importance of water, access to public lands for grazing and more. Then you start seeing bad policies and that is a trend I don’t like to see. I think the trend can be reversed with ... young people continuing the good message of the importance of agriculture and what it means to us. Very simply stated it means we either are fed or we go hungry.”

The “Wyoming Agriculture Literacy Week” proclamation reads: “Educating through literature is a top priority for school children; where reading is a fundamental standard in the education system.

 “Many aspects of our daily lives, including the food we eat, clothes we wear, and medicine we depend on, are all intertwined and made possible because of agriculture. Wyoming agriculture also provides open spaces, scenic vistas and fresh air. Not only do Wyoming’s farmers and ranchers provide us with the food we eat, but they are also the first environmental stewards, maintaining and improving the soil and natural resources to pass on to future generations.”

Cole Coxbille, Goshen County farmer and WyFB YF&R state chair adds: “We need agriculture. The Governor said food security is more important than energy security. If we can’t feed ourselves in this country we are in trouble.”

Mead added that agriculture is the third largest industry in Wyoming. In addition to the direct benefits provided there are also many collateral benefits to agriculture.

“The open spaces provided by farmers and ranchers allows the mineral industry to do some of the work they need to do,” he explained. “And people come from all over the world to see our wide open spaces and what that provides in terms of water, open land and wildlife; that is what they want to see from our tourism industry.”

Three contests are offered for Wyoming students: Coloring Contest for kindergarten and first graders; Poster Contest for second and third graders; and a Creative Writing Contest for fourth and fifth graders.

Wyoming students and teachers are encouraged to visit their school’s elementary library to check out the 2016 book "Farm Life... We Live It, We Love It" by Sheridan and Rianna Chaney. Next, visit www.wyfb.org and click on the education tab for contest rules and details. For questions, [email protected] or 307.532.2002. The county contest deadline is April 8, 2016.

Source: Wyoming Farm Bureau

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