Third graders learn how Ohio farmer’s make sure people have good, safe food to eat –
By Patricia Beech –
A third-grade student at North Adams Elementary School has earned Honorable Mention in the 2018 statewide, “For Your InFARMation” essay contest sponsored by the Ohio Livestock Coalition (OLC).
Elizabeth Raines, daughter of Greg and Tami Raines of Seaman, was one of the five Honorable Mention awardees.
“I’m really excited about winning,” Elizabeth said during a telephone interview with the Defender on Monday.
Her winning essay about farming practices and food production was chosen out of more than 55 essay entries submitted from across the state.
NAES Principal Deirdre Mills said the win was “a well-deserved achievement”.
“I am very excited that one of our students was recognized for her essay,” she wrote in an e-mail to the Defender. “I’m grateful this program chose to recognize Elizabeth’s effort and talent.”
Mills sees a connection between Raines’ success and what’s happening in her school’s classrooms.
“It reflects not only the hard work of our students, but of our teachers as well,” she wrote. “This is a perfect example of how our teachers use free resources to teach cross curricular content to advance the knowledge and skill base of our students at North Adams Elementary.”
The contest, which is hosted by the Livestock Coalition’s “For Your InFARMation” program, is designed to teach Ohio third graders about agriculture in the state. Third grade teachers use a free, three-day lesson plan, provided by the coalition, to teach students about farmers and Ohio’s economy – both of which are key to safe and healthy food, energy and renewable resources, and more.
Jane Williams, Elizabeth’s third-grade-home-room teacher, submitted her students’ essays after using the free lesson plan to teach her class about agriculture in Ohio.
She praised Elizabeth’s academic work ethic, calling her a “role model for others”.
“She is a wonderful student,” Williams says. “She is fully dedicated to learning every day.”
In addition to being a good student, Elizabeth is also very familiar with farms, farmers, and farming.
She lives on a farm near Seaman with her parents, and both her father and grandfather are full-time farmers, according to Ms. Raines, who says Elizabeth “has an appreciation for what farming is about”.
“I think it’s more important to share this information with people who don’t live on farms,” the former third-grader says. “I wrote about how to raise healthy crops and animals and about how farmers recycle so people will know how their food is raised and that they can safely eat it.”
OLC representative and senior vice-president of communications at the American Dairy Association Mideast, Jenny Hubble, says there is a “disconnect for many young students in Ohio between the food they eat daily and their understanding of where it actually comes from.”
“With agriculture being the number one driving force behind our state’s economy,” she says, “it’s crucial that people understand the important role agriculture plays and learn about the origins of the food they eat and the farmers who work hard to produce it.”
That is the message Elizabeth’s third grade Social Studies teacher, Tiffany McAdams, says she was working to get across to her students as she introduced InFARMation to her regular science/agriculture curriculum.
“Agriculture is a subject that many children do not have access to, and it’s one that I feel is extremely important for our students to learn,” said McAdams. “We learned the importance of our farmers. We learned they are stewards of the earth, and thus have a great responsibility. So many products, most we don’t even realize, are available because a farmer took the time to care for their crops, livestock and ultimately our earth. “
McAdams says the InFARMation resources “opened doors for NAES third graders to explore agriculture more deeply”.
At the end of the school year the students continued to learn about agriculture and hosted their second Agriculture Day at North Adams High School in partnership with several advisors including: John Newman- FFA Advisor at NAHS; the FFA students at NAHS; Adams County’s Extension agent, Kristy Watters; and Richard Purdin from Adams County Soil and Water.
“We were able to build upon the information we learned from the InFARMation materials to gain a deeper knowledge of agriculture,” says McAdams, who gave the third graders their essay assignment with the prompt “How do Ohio farmers make sure we have good, safe food to eat?
“Elizabeth Raines took the information we learned in class, as well as her real life experiences, to write a well-rounded, informative essay,” McAdams says. “She was very excited to write this essay and her passion for the subject showed in her writing. She wrote about the importance of having healthy and safe food to consume and explained how farmers are vital in that process. It was truly a wonderful essay and it was a pleasure watching her learn and share her personal experiences through this process. The content of her essay was wonderful and wise beyond her years.”
“The farmers grow crops like corn and many more,” Elizabeth wrote at the conclusion of her two-page essay, then explained, “Animals like cows and pigs eat the crops. The manure the animal produced is now used as fertilizer for the soil. This is how Ohio farmers make sure that our food is safe. Thanks to the farmers we have good, safe food to eat.”
According to the OLC website, “The “For Your InFARMation” materials were developed by OLC with an education consultant and a practicing third grade teacher, and are updated annually. These materials support Ohio learning standards for reading, writing, math, geography, and more. The curriculum also includes a variety of nonfiction reading passages to support teachers with Ohio’s Third Grade Reading Guarantee. Along with the lesson plan materials, smart board lessons are available to be used in the classroom.”
Mills sees the program as an opportunity to spotlight her students’ and teachers’ efforts and talents.
“By partnering with this type of program, we can work on numerous state standards at the same time,” she says. “In addition to giving our students a chance to be recognized for their knowledge and skill.”