Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom Program Announces Book of the Year and Essay Contest Topic

Each year, the Ag in the Classroom program holds an essay contest in conjunction with the Book of the Year for fourth- and fifth-grade students throughout the state. This year’s essay contest topic is, ‘What’s Popping in Wisconsin? The value of corn to our economy!

Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom is kicking off the 2021-2022 school year by announcing the Book of the Year, “Popcorn Country” written by Cris Peterson.

Author Cris Peterson offers a step-by-step examination of the history and science behind America’s favorite snack. With photographs by David R. Lundquist, readers get a view of how popcorn is planted, grown, harvested, processed, tested and finally shipped all over the world. Back matter delves into the history of popcorn and how it became so popular in the United States. Accompanying lessons from the National Ag in the Classroom and the Popcorn Board are aligned to educational standards and are available online for teachers, students and volunteers to use in promoting and preparing essays.

“We are so excited to have another of Cris’ books with her gifted writing and excellent photographs,” said Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom Coordinator Darlene Arneson. “The book does an excellent job explaining how popcorn is grown and processed into one of America’s favorite snacks. The essay contest focuses on the many uses of the various types of corn, but especially popcorn, in the snacks we eat along with their importance to Wisconsin’s economy.”

Essay submissions must be 100- to 300-words in length and will be judged on content, grammar, spelling and neatness. This year students must make three references to Wisconsin agriculture. The essay contest rules, lesson plans and sample classroom activities are located here. Essays are due April 1, 2022.

The contest is sponsored by We Energies, Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board, Wisconsin Corn and the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation.

Nine district winners will be selected with one being chosen as the state winner in May. Each district winner will receive a classroom presentation for his or her class. Last year, over 1,400 students participated in the contest.

Questions about the book or essay contest can be directed to Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom Coordinator Darlene Arneson at [email protected].