The Secret is Out
For the last nine years I have been involved with Wyoming Agriculture in the Classroom (WAIC) through many roles. It does seem like it was only a couple of years ago when someone asked if I would join the Board, when Del Tinsley was President and Keith Geis was waiting in the wings, as Del was on his last term. Those two people, along with the many others who have served on the WAIC Board from its beginning, deserve big thanks for agriculture. I wish I had a list of all who served so we could print their names for all of you to see, recognize and thank.
As I said in this column last week, “a dream and a commitment are a powerful combination.” What a true statement, as WAIC was only a dream 20-some years ago, when a few ag folks became committed to telling the story of agriculture to the children of Wyoming. I’ll bet they didn’t have any idea how important their work with WAIC would become in the years ahead.
Today, with PETA and The Humane Society of the United States dogging our every move, and all the misinformation that’s passed around regarding agricultural practices and meat consumption, it’s more important than ever to get the true story out to the public. In years past, at least in Wyoming, people in towns were acquainted with farmers or ranchers, while nowadays most people in our towns don’t have any connection with rural people and how they live. If that is true in Wyoming, think what it must be like in other states.
WAIC now has some great programs to educate students and their teachers on agriculture. Coming this June is the annual Rendezvous, which will be held in Riverton. The teachers attending the three-day class will visit farms, ranches and ag businesses to learn about range monitoring, water quality and livestock practices. The local ag community has really turned out to help, as always is the case with this event.
The annual Bookmark Contest was recently held in Cheyenne, and the third-, fourth- and fifth-grade winners in the contest visited the Capitol and met the Governor and other officials. Even Rep. Cynthia Loomis took time from her busy schedule to spend a part of the day with the students and their families. With lunch provided by the local CattleWomen at the Wyoming Herford Ranch, the winners and their families enjoyed a day they will always remember.
Also, over 25,000 copies of the Country to Classroom publication will be mailed out to schools in Wyoming, along with the new mini-issues to be emailed throughout the year.
WAIC Education Director Brook Gerke is a person of whom we are all very proud, because of her tireless energy and commitment to covering the whole state at Ag Expos, other events and meetings. Brook, like the Education Directors before her, has really been the work horse that keeps WAIC going, especially in times of limited funding.
In the past WAIC has met its goal with its endowment, but it still need your support to help with current programs. I want to thank everyone who has helped in the past, and I know you will continue your support.