One of the most rewarding parts of my career as a writer is promoting agricultural literacy through my children’s books. Since 2011, I’ve written two books — “Levi’s Lost Calf” and “Can-Do Cowkids,” and I’m currently wrapping up book number three, which is set to release in late 2019 or early 2020.
With that anticipated release in mind, I’m currently working on the lesson plan for teachers and producers to utilize in the classroom. Needless to say, agricultural literacy is on my mind these days, and I’m constantly on the lookout for fun and unique ways to connect with our next generation of consumers.
You, too, can join in on the fun of teaching production agriculture to our nation’s youth. Whether that’s volunteering to read a book at your child or grandchild’s school, donating books to the local library or purchasing ag books to give to kids in need during the holiday season, there are many ways we can get these messages in front of young people.
And never before has the need for this been so great. Our industry can’t escape the negative messaging surrounding animal agriculture. Every day there are new headlines that pop up blaming cattle for climate change, heart disease, diabetes, animal abuse, wildfires in the Amazon, obesity and so much more.
These messages are then being presented as fact to students in the classroom. So anytime we have the opportunity to balance out the rhetoric, we need to take advantage of it.
National Read a Book Day is this Friday, Sept. 6., and the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture is encouraging farmers, ranchers and teachers to share agricultural messages on this day of celebration.
According to a AFBF press release, “Sept. 6 is National Read a Book Day! Let's try to get that book to be an accurate ag book! The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture is encouraging volunteers and teachers to pick an accurate agricultural book to share with a classroom on September 6th! Visit agfoundation.org for book ideas, free activities and more.”
For classroom activities, a list of agriculturally accurate books or ideas for how to approach your local school, click here.
I realize that this is pretty short notice to get into a classroom by the end of the week, so here’s another idea. How about you post images of your kids or grandkids enjoying some of their favorite farm- and ranch-themed books on social media? Share reviews of these agriculturally accurate books and encourage others to do the same.
Use hashtags — #ReadAgBooks19, #readwithafarmer, #agliteracy, #readwithranchers, #readtokidseveryday or #ageducation — when you post. Let’s help parents who are curious about agriculture and want to share farming stories with their kids by sharing our best recommendations!
This is a great way to connect with our urban audience through shared values of reading to your kids at bedtime. Let’s make this a huge splash on social media, and perhaps this will also spark your interest in volunteering at your local school in the upcoming year.
Happy National Read a Book Day. Which agriculturally accurate book will you be picking up this Friday?
The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Farm Progress.