Western Nebraska Community College (WNCC) students in the Applied Agriculture Technologies Program sat down with kindergartners from Longfellow Elementary Thursday morning to read “Before We Eat” by Pat Brisson as part of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation’s “Agriculture Reading Hour.”
As part of the “Agriculture Reading Hour,” volunteers across the state read agriculture-themed books to children in their communities, and in turn, donate the book to the classroom or school on behalf of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation. The program’s mission is to increase student knowledge about the importance of agriculture in their daily lives.
Applied Agriculture student Elliott Epp of Lisco, Neb. likes the interaction with elementary students.
“I enjoy going to the elementary schools to read to the younger kids who might not have been on a farm before,” says Epp. “It’s really a chance for us to open them up to agriculture at a young age.”
The student volunteers in the WNCC Farm Bureau Collegiate Club are able to share their firsthand knowledge about farming. This year’s book shows workers both on and off the farm, illustrating to children the number of people and hard work it takes to provide the food on their plate.
According to Applied Agriculture Instructor, Lex Larsen, the reading hour program provides an opportunity to advocate for agriculture and answer questions that younger kids have about what happens on a farm or ranch.
“Having any opportunity for my students to speak in public not only helps with their confidence, but it’s a wonderful experience for everyone involved,” he added.
After the story and questions, Larsen and his students remind the class to always thank a farmer.
The club hopes to read to several kindergarten through third grade classes in the Nebraska Panhandle to share what they are learning in the Applied Agriculture Program.