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Wyo Ag Literacy Week features Ag Books for Kids

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Recognizing the importance of the Wyoming agriculture industry and educating school children through reading, the week of Feb. 13 has been designated as “Wyoming Agricultural Literacy Week” by Wyoming Governor Matt Mead, who made the proclamation on Feb. 8.
    The proclamation reads: “Educating through literature is a top priority for school children; where reading is a fundamental standard in the education system.”
    Educating Wyoming school children about agriculture is the goal of the Wyoming Farm Bureau Young Farmer and Rancher (WyFB YF&R) Committee’s “Ag Books for Kids” project, and 2012 marks its eighth year. The WyFB YF&R, along with county Farm Bureaus, donates agriculture books each year to elementary school libraries across Wyoming.
    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.”
    “Reading non-fiction books is an important way for children to learn about their world,” says WyFB YF&R State Chair Chalsey Kortes. “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,” she adds. “We encourage our committee members to find great ag books, and we also ask our general membership for recommendations.”
    The YF&R Promotions Subcommittee gathers the recommendations, then makes the decision on which book to feature each year. This year their choice is Seed, Soil, Sun by Cris Peterson, and the subcommittee encourages Wyoming students and teachers to visit their school’s elementary library to check it out.
    In conjunction with Wyoming Agricultural Literacy Week, YF&R holds three contests to encourage the use of their featured book, and to provide application opportunities for the book’s lessons. The 2012 contests are a Coloring Contest for kindergarten and first graders, a Poster Contest for second and third graders and a Book Review Contest for fourth and fifth graders.
    “It’s so much fun to look through the contest entries, because kids are so creative,” comments Kortes.
    “Promoting agriculture through literacy is one way we can make a difference for our industry,” she concludes. “We appreciate the county Farm Bureaus’ work on this project at the grassroots level.”
    For more information on the contests, which have a deadline of March 28, visit and click on the Education tab for contest rules and details. Christy Martinez is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at

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