by Lisa Hadden
This year, National Ag Week is March 21-27, with March 21 being “National Ag Day.” This week acknowledges and celebrates the agricultural industry and the importance of it to our economy.
It is also a time to thank the entire ag industry for our food, clothing and renewable products. The agricultural industry also provides so many with their careers. I try to always remind the area fourth graders that they don’t have to be an actual farmer to have a job in agriculture.
On a daily basis, we take so many items for granted that we would not have without agriculture. This includes such products as toothpaste, buttons and the corn syrup in our soda.
I like to tell the students that even if they didn’t have bacon and eggs for breakfast, they have used numerous items that are by-products from beef cattle, pigs, field corn, soybeans, etcetera.
One of our lessons is all about field corn and it is titled, “Tassel to Table.” Every single student ends up with a job. We start with the farmer and then find out he needs implement dealers, seed dealers and chemical dealers, just to name a few.
We need lots of transportation, the grain elevator, refineries, manufacturers, warehouses and stores. At this point, there are still some students sitting in their seats looking at me like, “You said we would all have jobs!” I then remind them we need accountants, technicians, forklift operators, scientists, media specialists … and the list goes on.
So, while you may not be a farmer, there are so many opportunities for jobs in agriculture.
Recently, I did a pizza lesson in recognition of “National Pizza Day” with several area third-grade classrooms. I began by reading “Nobody Knows How to Make a Pizza,” by Julie Borowski. This book is eye-opening, as the kids realize that no one is actually capable of knowing everything about making a cheese pizza.
When asked if they could do it, the general response was that they absolutely could, and if they couldn’t … their parents could.
To make a cheese pizza, you of course need the ingredients — BUT you also need a combine to harvest the wheat, someone to not only operate the dairy but also MAKE the cheese, someone to GROW tomatoes for the sauce, someone to TRANSPORT the tomatoes and much more. Once again, you don’t have to be a farmer to have an important job in agriculture.
So, remember, while it is still important to “Thank a Farmer,” it is also very important to thank everyone involved in agriculture.