“Wyoming Agricultural Literacy Week” is Feb. 11-16
Recognizing the importance of the Wyoming agriculture industry and educating school children through reading, the week of February 11th 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. 2013 marks the ninth year of the project. The Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation (WyFB) Young Farmer & Rancher (YF&R) Committee organizes the project and the county Farm Bureaus across the state donate agriculture books each year to the elementary school libraries across Wyoming.
During the proclamation signing and meeting with the Wyoming Farm Bureau Young Farmer & Rancher Committee and YF&R Conference participants on Jan. 17, the Governor emphasized the importance of educating about agriculture through literacy. “One of the great things about our country is because of agriculture most of us go to bed with full bellies,” Governor Mead said. “The problem is so many people don’t understand where our food comes from and the political decisions that are made in a vacuum hurt agriculture. The sustainability of agriculture is a big deal to me.”
“We struggle now with how we fuel ourselves and the foreign policy that goes along with that,” Governor Mead continued. “It is one thing to not be able to fuel ourselves, but it is a completely bigger deal to not be able to feed ourselves.”
The Governor emphasized the importance of agriculture and the fact that most people don’t take a long term view of agriculture. “If we lose out on agriculture, once agriculture land is gone it is hard to get back,” He said. “I think that is one of the great features of having agriculture literacy and especially in the classrooms so kids understand they don’t have to be in agriculture, but they have to have an understanding of what agriculture means to them whatever they end up doing in life.”
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.”
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.”
“The wonderful and unique thing about the WyFB YF&R “Ag Books for Kids” project is that it allows us, as producers, to meet with elementary students face-to-face, and educate them about our industry while also promoting the importance of literacy in their lives,” said Heather Hamilton, WyFB YF&R State Vice Chair. “Governor Mead’s strong and continued support of our project speaks volumes, and showcases his understanding of the value of the agriculture industry, and his belief in the necessity of passing that understanding on to future generations.”
Three contests are offered for Wyoming students to encourage use of the book and provide application opportunities for what is learned from reading the book. The 2013 contests are: 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 2013 book “Star Becomes a Mother” by Rianna and Sheridan 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 10, 2013.
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. Visit www.wyfb.org.