An important mission for agriculture is helping consumers understand the process of producing food. In Wyoming, the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmer & Rancher Committee meets that need with the Ag Books for Kids project. The aim of the program is to build the collection of agriculture reading materials in Wyoming elementary school libraries so students can learn more about the importance of agriculture.
This year, county Farm Bureaus across the state donated nearly 700 copies of “Right This Very Minute” to those elementary libraries. Written by Lisl H. Detlefsen and illustrated by Renee Kurilla, the book notes that if you’re hungry right this very minute, then you need a farmer. It goes on to talk about all the different areas of agriculture that end with food on your table.
Students, as part of the project, had the opportunity to participate in a contest to show what they learned about agriculture. The 2020 contests included a coloring contest for students in kindergarten and first grade; a poster contest for second and third graders; and a marketing ad contest for fourth and fifth graders.
Tracy Neidig, a WyFB YF&R committee member, explains that helping students better understand how food goes from farm or ranch to table is valuable.
“So many people have no connection to a farm or ranch or know where their food comes from,” Neidig says. “Children soak up new and exciting things easily and enjoy learning, and Ag Books for Kids is the perfect way to show them where their food comes from.”
COLORFUL WINNER: Trayden Taylor, a kindergartner from Crook County, won the Wyoming Farm Bureau coloring contest. (Courtesy of WyFB YF&R)
Contest continues despite school closings
When schools across Wyoming closed in mid-March, WyFB decided to continue the contest. Many schools had submitted their entries prior to the deadline. The organization was thankful for the teachers and students who took part. And WyFB thanked Farm Bureau volunteers for working digitally to ensure the contest would continue.
Students from across Wyoming were recently recognized for their participation in the 2020 WyFB Ag Books for Kids contests. Each of the state winners in the three contests received a $50 gift card from WyFB and his or her own copy of “Right This Very Minute.” The book copies were signed by Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon. Runners-up received a $25 gift card and an ag book.
This year’s winners
There are three areas: coloring contest, poster contest and a marketing ad contest.
• In the coloring contest, the winner is Trayden Taylor, a kindergartner from Crook County.
• Tilly Neves, Big Horn County, was the state runner-up in the coloring contest. She completed first grade with Stephanie Smith at Burlington Elementary School.
SHARING THE STORY: Camille Draney of Lincoln County, Wyo., won the state poster contest aiming to tell the story of agriculture. The second grader attended Afton Elementary. (Courtesy of WyFB YF&R)
• In the poster contest, Camille Draney, Lincoln County, was the state winner. She completed second grade in Britani Erickson's class at Afton Elementary School.
• State runner-up in the poster contest was Kelli Anne Blake, Fremont County. Her second grade teacher was Christine Rakisits at St. Margaret’s Catholic School.
• For the marketing ad contest, the winner is a fourth grader named Dane from Lincoln County, who completed fourth grade in Ann Willford’s class at La Barge Elementary School. Dane provided only a single name with the entry, but came up with an interesting marketing idea, creating a song to be sung called “Farmer’s Work” to the tune of “Jingle Bells.” Here are the lyrics:
Farmers work, very hard,
They grow all we need.
Right this very minute,
Their animals they fe-ed.
Knowledge, dedication, pride,
Their stories should be told.
Thanking all those farmers,
Never should get old.
The smiley face was included in the lyrics.
• Rylee Dockery, Fremont County, was state runner-up. She completed fifth grade at Jeffrey City Elementary School with teacher Scott Hemingway.
The Ag Books for Kids program is in its 16th year and is a project of the WyFB Young Farmer & Rancher Committee. Throughout the program, more than 8,800 books have been donated to elementary school libraries by the county Farm Bureaus. The grassroots efforts of the county organizations who donate the books and help educate about agriculture are important to the program.
Chelsea Baars, WyFB YF&R state chair, comments: “As we have all seen, our society depends on a solid and steady food supply chain to meet the simplest of our daily needs. Communicating this importance to the next generation is critical.”