From food to fuel, virtually every aspect of daily life is influenced by agriculture.
Throughout National Agriculture Week, which runs March 20-26, with March 22 being Agriculture Day, the Monroe County Agricultural Bureau Women’s Committee will be hosting several initiatives and events to pass this message.
“Everyone’s life is connected in one way or another with agriculture,” said committee member Karen Schrader. “Although our county is still a very agriculture-sensitive county, not all counties are. Many children and adults don’t realize the importance of agriculture and how it provides their groceries to the grocery store, so whenever we have the opportunity to connect people to agriculture, we’re trying to look for ways to do that.
This year, longtime favorites will be back, one being a freshman coloring contest, another being a fourth grade poster contest.
Monroe County Farm Bureau certified director Brenda Seboldt explained that first graders are given a coloring page that highlights a popular food and explains how all of its ingredients come from a farm or garden. On the back, children can write a thank you letter to the farmers.
For the poster contest, fourth graders use Illinois AgMag, a children’s magazine, to design a poster about the crop or livestock featured in the issue.
In both activities, winners will be chosen from each class.
“It’s county-wide, so we deliver them to all schools in the county, public schools, and parochial schools,” Seboldt said. “It’s a way to showcase agriculture since it’s the county’s number one industry.
The Monroe County Agricultural Bureau will also be rolling out its cow and pig exhibits at Rogers Elementary in Waterloo, Parkview Elementary in Columbia, and Valmeyer School, which depict livestock as well as all foods and products made from them.
A small treat will be offered to school staff who use the county’s Ag in the Classroom materials.
Schrader said educating young people during Agriculture Week is of the utmost importance.
“(Hopefully they will become aware of agriculture in their lives and maybe spark an interest in agriculture,” Schrader said. “We have such great agricultural groups in our high schools and you don’t know never when it will pique someone’s interest in considering a career in agriculture.
See page 5C of this week and next week Republic Times journal for a special agriculture-themed crossword puzzle and crossword research, sponsored by the Women’s Committee.
The group will also post questions on the Monroe County Ag in the Classroom Facebook page – play along in the comments for a chance to win Schneider’s Quality Meats gift cards.
The committee is also asking local businesses with digital signs to help promote Agriculture Week or thank a farmer.
This year, the committee has decided to add community service elements to its festivities.
Next Monday, March 21, the office will provide apples, oranges and bananas as part of the free Martha’s Kitchen meals offered at St. John’s United Church of Christ in Waterloo.
Then, on Agriculture Day, they will serve the Columbia Fire Department a meal from Imo’s Pizza. Seboldt and Schrader said they hope to continue the tradition of celebrating first responders, going through the alphabet each year.
“We’re all in this together,” Seboldt said. “We want them to know that we support what they do because they are called to the farms and our members. We just want to make sure they are appreciated.