As beef producers, it has been, without question, a wild and crazy year of ups and downs — packing plant closures, fake meat rivalries, political mudslinging, trade wars, regulatory changes, and the list goes on and on.
As citizens, we’ve experienced toilet paper hoarding, Kayne West running for president of the United States, coin shortages, the documentary “Tiger King” going viral, rioters in the streets knocking down statues and the politicization of every single major topic in the news causing angry people to take out their frustrations on social media.
To mask or not to mask? To open schools or not to open schools? Essential or not? Contagious or safe? Reopen businesses or shut everything down?
It’s maddening, depressing, antagonizing and polarizing, and the division and hate-filled rhetoric don't add anything helpful.
Being a parent makes these issues so much harder to wrangle with. As parents grapple with the idea of sending their children back to school wearing masks, many are looking at virtual or homeschooling options.
If you are a parent and are facing some really difficult choices in the weeks ahead, I’m right there with you. I can totally sympathize as you weigh the pros and cons of these really hard decisions we must make to keep our kids safe, healthy and focused on developmentally-appropriate educational activities.
There are many free resources online to round out learning and promote agricultural literacy. From farm tours on YouTube to tutorials on anything you can imagine from fixing tractors to artificially inseminating cows, the possibilities are endless on ways you can bring educational materials to your kids while you stay at home on the ranch.
One really neat activity that I’m excited to share is the “Beef Book Club,” hosted by the Tennessee Beef Industry Council’s (TBIC). All summer long, TBIC has held a weekly Facebook Live featuring various agriculturally-accurate children’s books. Kids are invited to tune in and join the conversation to learn more about where their food comes from.
The Beef Book Club has featured both of my children’s books, “Levi’s Lost Calf” and “Can-Do Cowkids,” as well as several others including:
- “Little Star…Raising Our First Calf” by Rebecca Long Chaney
- “Star Becomes A Mother” by Rebecca Long Chaney
- “Kindergarten Rancher” by Rachel Gabel
- “Beef Cattle In The Story of Agriculture” by Susan Anderson and JoAnne Buggey
- “Beef Cattle an A-to-Z Book” by Susan Anderson and JoAnne Buggey
- “I Love Going To The Butcher” by Lee Seelig
On July 22 at 3:30 pm, tune into the TBIC Facebook page to listen to the reading of “Can-Do Cowkids.” When you’re done, be sure to download the educational materials created by the Georgia Beef Board that coincide with the story.
In the upcoming weeks, as we get closer to the beginning of the school year, I would love to compile a list of other agricultural lesson plans and free resources for ranching families and consumers alike. Please email me any materials or activities you know of at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Farm Progress.