Here we are at the end of summer, and it’s hard to believe it’s already back-to-school time again. Like many of you, I’ve been enjoying first-day pictures of my grandkids, grinning from ear-to-ear, ready to head off to school, meet their new teachers and see their classmates. I can’t wait to hear all about what they’re going to learn this fall, and I know that so much of what they learn in these early days will help shape them as they grow up. This time of year makes me especially proud of the work the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture is doing to help make sure ag education plays a part in every classroom.
Our Foundation team has done an outstanding job of finding accurate books about farming and ranching and getting teachers resources to help students understand where their food comes from. But every year it’s clear how many more of these types of books we need. Rural and urban kids alike need to know what goes into growing the food they eat, the clothes they wear, and so many other products they enjoy. Younger generations also need to be introduced to the wide variety of ag careers available to them, if we’re going to keep agriculture moving forward in our country.
We’re excited about the launch of Feeding Minds Press. At the start of the new year, the Foundation’s new book publishing company will release its first hardcover title, “Right This Very Minute,” a picture book about what’s happening on the farm throughout the day. I can’t wait to get copies for my grandkids, and for them to share with their friends about what it takes to grow the food we eat. The good news is, you don’t have to wait until January to see what Feeding Minds Press is up to: The company is off to a busy start this week, publishing a special series of printable booklets available for classrooms, and made possible thanks to support from Corteva Agriscience.
This new series of My American Farm books does a great job of teaching schoolkids more about agriculture and a variety of ag-related careers—from dairy farmer to plant scientist to ag journalist. The titles are “The Vibrant Variety,” “The Artistic Arrangement,” and—my favorite—“The Cow Conundrum.” Each book introduces students to ag terms and shows them different types of agriculture and related careers. For example, in “The Cow Conundrum,” students learn about the technology a dairy farmer uses, as well as how veterinarians, like my son Zeb, help farmers keep their animals healthy. Students can keep on learning after they’ve finished the books, as there’s a special code at the end directing them to more ag career resources at My American Farm’s “Little Ag Me” game.
Thanks to the hard work of the Foundation and Feeding Minds Press, maybe we can avoid having a generation who thinks chocolate milk comes from brown cows. Instead, we can have kids who are eager to learn about farming and do their part to help feed a growing world.
Vincent “Zippy” Duvall, a poultry, cattle and hay producer from Greene County, Georgia, is the 12th president of the American Farm Bureau Federation. You can follow him on Twitter @ZippyDuvall.