By: Levi McPhillips
Whether you are aware of it or not, today’s children are uneducated and illiterate when it comes to agriculture. By no fault of their own, today’s youth have little or no exposure to agriculture. Many children mistakenly think that food comes from the grocery store or the fast food window. They have no idea the amount of labor, money, and people that it took to provide them with their favorite happy meal or mom’s meatloaf dinner. This is something that is hard for me to understand because I grew up taking care of livestock on a weekly basis. Working with animals was not just something I did for fun; raising livestock is a way of life for me and thousands of across America. However, children without this exposure need to be shown how agriculture affects them every day.
The Nebraska Pork Producers Association and the Nebraska Soybean Board are teaming up to do just that. The AgSack Lunch Program satisfies hungry stomachs and curious minds by teaching Nebraska fourth graders about agriculture in Nebraska. Every fourth grader in Nebraska is required to learn more about Nebraska history and government. As part of that education, these fourth graders tour the State Capitol building. The AgSack lunch program was added to the tour to give them information on the most important part of Nebraska’s economy: agriculture. Lunch is provided to the students which is more convenient for the teachers. The lunch includes food that is raised here in Nebraska including corn chips, milk, and a ham sandwich.
A group of University of Nebraska students give 15 minute presentations to the kids while they chow down on agricultural products. The fourth graders learn about the significant effect that agriculture has on Nebraska’s economy. They learn about the four main livestock animals that are raised in Nebraska as well as the three main crops. The AgSack lunch program was huge success this year, and it provided nutritious meals to over 3,500 fourth graders touring the State Capitol.
I think this program is just what our youth need today. Nothing speaks for agriculture better than showing how food gets from field to fork. Anyone who opposes what we do cannot deny the fact that without farmers, ranchers, and all of those working in agriculture we would all go hungry. The AgSack Program teaches that agriculture is important, and it shows how important it is by letting children taste the fruit of our labor. This is also a great example of people in agriculture uniting for a common purpose. The Nebraska Pork Producers Association and the Nebraska Soybean Board are setting the bar for cooperation. It is time for those raising swine, corn, beef, poultry, soybean, produce, and every food product to unite for the good of agriculture and the good of the world. Consumers need to know that our goal is to provide a future that is nutritious and hunger fee.