Second-annual Farm Ag Sack Lunch Program Reaches 5,000 Fourth graders with a Message About the Importance of Ag to Nebraska.
Lincoln, NE (4.20.12)–Nebraska’s fourth-graders have been learning about the vital role of agriculture in the state when they visit the State Capitol Building during the 2011-12 school year, thanks to a program co-sponsored by the Nebraska Soybean Board (NSB), the Nebraska Pork Producers Association (NPPA), and the Nebraska Corn Board (NCB).
The Nebraska AG Sack Lunch Program is designed to teach
A total of about 5000 lunches were budgeted for the 2011-2012 school year, said a program administrator. Ninety classes will have enjoyed the presentations when the school year ends in May.
The program takes advantage of the fact that over 20,000 fourth-graders visit the
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.
Don Hutchens, executive director of the Nebraska Corn Board, said that “we hope this Sack Lunch Program can be a conduit to education, understanding and appreciation. What better way to do it than with a sack lunch and a little education.”
Comments from participating teachers and students suggest the program is hitting its mark. Jane Grunvaldson, fourth-grade teacher at
The presentations “are wonderful,” she said. “The UNL students (Ag Ambassadors) do a great job engaging the students and my class learned a lot.”
The Ag Ambassadors presenting to Gundvalson’s class on April 17 were Lacy Schardt, of Carleton, Amanda Bergstrom, Wilcox, and Jordan Stromberger, Imperial. “The students were especially interested in the backgrounds of the presenters, all who grew up on farms that had livestock and crops.”
Prior to the event, Gundvalson said, her students had more questions about what their lunches would be than anything else. After the presentation, they were “full of questions about who in our area might be providing meat for us to eat.”
The presentation created continued questions and discussion on their way home. “We talked about chickens on a farm and how they provide the eggs we eat or use in baking. We talked about pork chops and how they are from a pig, how the hamburgers they eat come from beef cattle. We also had a huge discussion about the milk they drink and milk products. And they couldn't believe there are goat farms in
“Now they have a firmer grasp that the foods we eat are directly coming from the farmers and ranchers in
Other teachers report similar reaction to the ag-based presentations, with equally
interesting student responses.
Pam Schrader, fourth-grade teacher at
“To top off the lunch experience,” Schrader said, “ the students were excited to find a deck of cards with an agriculture twist in the bottom of their lunch sacks. When we got back to the classroom, the cards came in handy in literacy centers for the double purpose of reading and gathering agriculture information in a fun setting.”The Ag Sack Lunch Program was a great experience for my class. I hope we can participate again next year.”
Comments from LCS students shows that they learned something new about agriculture in the state.
“I didn't know there were two types of cattle, dairy and meat producing,” one student said. Another was surprised that soybeans were grown in
A primary objective of the Ag Sack Lunch Program is to acquaint students from urban areas about how the agriculture industry impacts their lives on a daily basis.
“The program was highly successful during the 2010-11 school year,” said Victor
Bohuslavsky, NSB executive director. “Interest exceeded our projections, so we increased the number of lunches we could provide.” Registrations for the 2011-2012 school year filled up quickly, as well.
This year’s Ag Sack Lunch Program schedule concludes in May, with 34 schools and over 1800 students scheduled to participate during the final month.
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