Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County and the Chautauqua County Farm Bureau are coordinating the annual Ag Literacy Week Program.
Annually in celebration of National Agriculture Week from March 18 to March 22, volunteers throughout New York state will read a book with an agricultural theme to second graders. Students and teachers will also benefit from hands-on lessons and receive follow up activities. The book will be given to the school library with a bookplate recognizing the donor and Ag Literacy Week. More than 1,500 books were donated in 2012, while thousands of second graders participated.
This year's book is "The Beeman" by Laurie Krebs and Valeria Cis. The children's book uses rhyming text and colorful illustrations to show all of the aspects of beekeeping.
Cornell Cooperative Extension officials say reading to youth and providing hands on activities is one way to increase knowledge of agriculture and nutrition allowing individuals to make informed personal choices about diet and health. Informed citizens will be able to participate in establishing the policies that will support a competitive agricultural industry in this country and abroad. Reading to youth helps them continue to explore career choices and opportunities. A variety of agricultural careers exist including farm production, agribusiness management and marketing, agricultural research and engineering, food science, processing and retailing, banking, landscape architecture, urban planning, energy and other fields.
During Ag Literacy Week, volunteers help educate second graders in Chautauqua County about the benefits of agriculture. Agricultural literacy includes an understanding of agriculture's history and current economic, social and environmental significance to Americans. The understanding includes some knowledge of food and fiber production, processing and domestic and international marketing.
"Locally, over 1500 students were read to in first through third grade levels last year," said Ginny Carlberg, local coordinator. "Over 23 volunteers read the book, and all of the books were donated by local farms, businesses, and individuals. We thank our sponsors, volunteers, and schools for this opportunity to talk about agriculture with our children and look forward to another successful year."
Volunteers and sponsors are invited to participate by calling Cornell Cooperative Extension at 664-9502, ext. 202, before Jan. 18.