Recognizing the importance of the Wyoming agriculture industry and educating school children through reading, the week of February 13th has been designated by Wyoming Governor Matt Mead as “Wyoming Agricultural Literacy Week.” 

            Educating Wyoming school children about agriculture is the goal of the Wyoming Farm Bureau Young Farmer and Rancher Committee “Ag Books for Kids” project.   2012 marks the eighth year of the project.  The Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmer & Rancher Committee, along with the county Farm Bureaus, donates agriculture books each year to the elementary school libraries across Wyoming.

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

            “Reading non-fiction books is an important way for children to learn about their world,” WyFB YF&R State Chair Chalsey Kortes said.  “Combining reading and learning about the industry that provides your food and fiber is a great fit and a project of which we are very proud.”

            “There are many great books that tell the story of agriculture accompanied by detailed pictures,” Kortes said.

            The proclamation continues:  “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.” 

            WyFB YF&R Committee members and county Farm Bureau “Ag Books for Kids” volunteers participated in the signing ceremony at the Governor’s office. 

            "It was neat to hear the Governor speak about his respect for the ‘Ag Books for Kids’ program and how other industries may want to try to emulate the program to educate kids,” said Albany County Farm Bureau volunteer Julie Devine. 

            “The classes that I’ve read “Seed, Soil and Sun” to really seemed to enjoy the book and talking about food and the parts of the plant that we eat,” Devine continued.  “Working with and educating young children about agriculture and where our country's food comes from is very rewarding.”
            “It was a thrill to meet with Governor Mead and get to share in his excitement about “Ag Books for Kids,” Carbon County Farm Bureau volunteer Kim Kortes said.  “The Governor sincerely supports the work Farm Bureau is doing to make agriculture books available to elementary students in our state.”

            Three contests are offered with the project to encourage use of the book and provide application opportunities for what is learned from reading the book.  The 2012 contests are:  Coloring Contest for kindergarten and first graders; Poster Contest for second and third graders; and a Book Review Contest for fourth and fifth graders. 

            Wyoming students and teachers are encouraged to visit their school’s elementary library to check out the 2012 book “Seed, Soil, Sun” by Cris Peterson.  Next, visit and click on the education tab for contest rules and details.  The county contest deadline is March 28, 2012.

            “Promoting agriculture through literacy is one way we can make a difference for our industry,” Chalsey Kortes concluded.  “We appreciate the county Farm Bureaus work on this project at the grassroots level.”

            The Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation is the state’s largest general agriculture organization. The purpose of the YF&R program is to develop leaders for the betterment of agriculture and Farm Bureau.   On the web at