“This education (agriculture literacy) is so important whether you are in agriculture or not it is important to have an appreciation of where your food comes from,” Wyoming Governor Matt Mead stated during a meeting with Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation members. “When you look at the big picture agriculture is important and critical for national security. It really is something I hope our country focuses on.”
Recognizing the importance of Wyoming agriculture and educating school children through reading, the week of March 6th has been designated by Governor Mead as “Wyoming Agricultural Literacy Week.”
Educating Wyoming school children about agriculture is the goal of the Wyoming Farm Bureau (WyFB) Young Farmer and Rancher (YF&R) Committee “Ag Books for Kids” project. 2017 marks the thirteenth year of the project. The WyFB YF&R Committee organizes the project and the county Farm Bureaus across the state donate agriculture books each year to Wyoming elementary school libraries.
During the proclamation signing, the Governor emphasized the importance of educating about agriculture through literacy.
“It is a hopeful message that kids have the opportunity to learn about agriculture so for Farm Bureau to make this happen is much appreciated,” Governor Mead stated.
“If people don’t understand where their food comes from then they also won’t understand the importance of water, access to public lands for grazing and more. Then you start seeing bad policies and that is a trend I don’t like to see,” he continued.
Governor Mead explained that the National Governors Association has formed an agriculture council. “The first agenda item is why agriculture is important in America,” Governor Mead explained. “It sounds simplistic, but for a lot of people that aren’t raised in agriculture, they know they like food, but they don’t have an idea of what it takes to raise food.”
“When policymakers in Washington, D.C. don’t understand where our food comes from then we see policies that hurt us in terms of being able to grow food,” he continued.
Following the Governor’s remarks with Farm Bureau members, including our youngest members asking questions too, the official signing of the proclamation was held.
“It's exciting that the Wyoming Agriculture Literacy Proclamation has become a tradition and that we get to be a part of encouraging agriculture literacy in the state of Wyoming,” said WyFB YF&R State Chair Stacy Berger.
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.”
Three contests are offered for Wyoming students to encourage use of the book and provide application opportunities for what is learned. The 2017 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 2017 book "Big Tractors" by Holly Dufek. Next, visit www.wyfb.org and click on the education tab for contest rules and details. The county contest deadline is April 7, 2017.
“We are excited to share more about farming and ranching again this year with our Ag Books for Kids program,” Berger concluded. “We appreciate the Governor sharing his thoughts with us each year about how important agriculture is to not only Wyoming but also the nation.”
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.