Contact: Tonia Ritter, 517-679-5345
LANSING — Agricultural organizations around the nation are gearing up to celebrate National Ag Week, March 15-21, and National Ag Day, March 18, in appreciation of the industry's countless contributions to our everyday lives. County Farm Bureaus across Michigan will sponsor a variety of local activities and promotions to honor the state's agricultural diversity and the farmers who make up the $101 billion industry.
Monroe County volunteers organized an agriculture awareness billboard on a heavily-traveled highway for the month of March. They will visit local elementary schools with agricultural lesson plans and host a countywide poster contest during National Agriculture Week. The group plans to present Michigan commodity baskets to county commissioners and to the family of each baby born in Monroe County during Ag Week.
"We're hoping to reach as many people as possible," said Mary Janssens, event coordinator from Monroe. "Agriculture is important every day, but this week is our opportunity to really put it front-and-center."
Members in St. Clair County will kick off the week at Port Huron's Animal Mania on Saturday, March 14. Volunteers hope to educate the more than 5,000 expected attendees about animal agriculture and have farmers available to answer questions. Nearly 15 volunteers will teach agricultural lesson plans in five schools throughout the county, reaching 13 elementary classrooms.
"We are excited to see our involvement and participation in these programs grow over time," said local coordinator Stacey Lauwers of Capac. "Our programs get a big draw and attendees enjoy learning about where their food comes from."
Ionia County is hoping to reach 1,500 elementary students with agricultural lesson plans. Farmer volunteers will give students hands-on educational opportunities and spend time reading accurate agriculture books. The county Farm Bureau also plans to unveil their book barn—a traveling library of accurate ag books—which will visit area schools throughout the school year.
"This program is something we look forward to every year," said coordinator Daniela Dryer of Portland. "Kids really enjoy hands-on learning and the opportunity to ask farmers questions directly."
Other county Farm Bureaus partnering with schools for agricultural education programs for National Agriculture Week include Barry, Bay, Gratiot, Gladwin, Ingham, Iosco, Macomb, Sanilac, Tuscola, Van Buren and Wexford.
Members in Antrim, Lapeer and Macomb counties will partner with their local libraries for agricultural exhibits and distribution of agriculture bookmarks.
Livingston and Washtenaw county volunteers will partner with local hospitals to provide an agriculture basket to the first baby born during on National Ag Day. Wayne County will prepare Michigan commodity baskets for their county commissioners.
Volunteers in Arenac, Berrien, Huron and Sanilac counties have coordinated agriculture-themed poster and coloring contests for elementary-age students.
Ionia, Livingston, Menominee, Monroe, Saginaw, Sanilac, Van Buren and Washtenaw County Farm Bureau members will distribute educational placemats and table tents to local restaurants to increase agriculture awareness.
Learn more about National Ag Week at http://www.agday.org.
NOTE: Contact your local county Farm Bureau office to learn what Ag Week holds in store for your community.