WyFB advocates for literacy in ag
The week of Feb. 28 through March 5 was recognized by Gov. Mark Gordon as Wyoming Agriculture Literacy Week. This week is designed to educate elementary aged children on agriculture and the responsibilities of Wyoming farmers and ranchers.
Wyoming Agriculture Literacy Week also assists in the promotion of the Ag Books for Kids project founded by the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation (WyFB) and Young Farmer and Rancher Committee in 2005.
Wyoming Agriculture Literacy Week began in 2008 and has been proclaimed annually by Wyoming governors ever since. WyFB Media and Member Relations Director Kerin Clark mentions school aged children learn the impact agriculture has on their everyday lives during this week.
“Wyoming Ag Literacy Week teaches the importance of ag in our lives – the food we eat, clothes we wear, crayons we color with – it’s all because of agriculture,” says Clark. “What would a day be like without agriculture?”
She mentions it’s crucial children understand where their food comes from, especially with so many children being raised without access to farms and ranches.
“There’s an importance of educating and sharing our story in ag so kids know where their food comes from,” Clark adds. “We want these kids to see their food isn’t just coming from the grocery store, there’re actual people working very hard to grow their food.”
She notes the importance of introducing children to agriculture at a young age.
“For children at a young age to understand where their food comes from – to understand farmers and ranchers are people just like them, eating the food they grow and feeding their families – this is huge,” she says.
Ag Books for Kids
Ag Books for Kids project delivers agriculture books to elementary schools throughout Wyoming. County Farm Bureau Federations donate books to local schools each year – with 768 books donated this year.
“This past year we had 21 county Farm Bureaus purchase books, so elementary schools within those 21 counties received at least one book and many schools received multiple,” says Clark.
She mentions WyFB is a grassroots organization – policy starts at the local level with county members and works its way up to state level.
“The strength of our project really comes from the grassroots efforts we have from our county Farm Bureau volunteers,” Clark says.
Not only do volunteers donate books to schools, they also donate their time. Clark explains volunteer ranchers and farmers go to elementary schools, read books to the children and discuss contests related to the books.
“Grassroots volunteer leaders do an incredible job of getting the books donated to the schools and their counties and volunteering to read books and answer questions about what they do on their ranch,” Clark adds. “This gives us an incredible opportunity to volunteer locally, have connections locally and make sure WyFB can have a large reach over the state of Wyoming.”
Clark shares the literacy week dedicated to agriculture leaves a lasting impact on the students, and she hopes the students continue to engage with agriculture and seek out agriculture books in their school libraries.
She encourages kindergarten through fifth grade students around Wyoming to enter the Ag Books for Kids contests by April 2 and check out other agriculture books on the WyFB website.
“We not only hope students across the state read this year’s book but also go back and are able to check out some other amazing agriculture books from their school’s library,” she says.
Kaitlyn Root is an editor for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.