October 30, 2012

A free sack lunch and a little education


Nebraska’s fourth-grade classes have been quick to take advantage of a program developed by the Nebraska Corn Board, Nebraska Soybean Board, and the Nebraska Pork Producers Association to introduce students to the importance of the agricultural industry to the state’s economy.

The Nebraska AG Sack Lunch Program is designed to educate Nebraska fourth-graders on the important role agriculture plays in the state’s economy, from a past, present and future perspective. The program takes advantage of the fact that over 20,000 fourth-graders visit the State Capitol Building in Lincoln each year as part of their curriculum.

The program includes a sack lunch featuring nutritious food produced in Nebraska, a 15-minute presentation by Ag Ambassadors on the vital role agriculture plays in the state’s economy, and a fact-filled card game designed for students to take home and play with their families. “Ag Ambassadors,” who are trained UNL students, make the brief presentations, which typically run 10 to 15 minutes.

“Some students just aren't aware of where their food comes from, just taking it for granted”, one Ambassador said. Their presentations tell students that one in three jobs in Nebraska have some connection to agriculture, including a variety of support industries such as equipment manufacturing and sales, building construction, transportation, and food retailers. Of these jobs, only about 10% are traditional farmers.

Invitations were sent to 660 fourth-grade teachers in 44 counties in the eastern third of Nebraska. Response was overwhelming. The initial program specified a total of 1,300 lunches would be provided. However, the program was expanded to offer 5,000 Ag Sack Lunches. The program has received positive comments from teachers, students and parents.

“Hopefully, this generation of fourth-graders can funnel some of what they learn to their parents,” says Don Hutchens, NCB executive director. “Some have a misconception of how farmers interact with the environment, their livestock or even whether their farm is a family farm. What better way to do it than with a free sack lunch and a little education.”

No comments:

Post a Comment