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

Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom is kicking off the 2020-2021 school year by announcing the Book of the Year, “Full of Beans: Henry Ford Grows a Car” written by Peggy Thomas.

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, ‘How have Wisconsin soybean farmers fueled Wisconsin’s economy?’

Thomas’ book also is  the  American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture’s Book of the Year and has an educator’s guide developed for it. Accompanying lessons aligned to educational standards and Wisconsin educational resources are available online for teachers, students and volunteers to use in promoting and preparing essays. This topic will enable teachers and students to use the Soybean Science Kits to learn about how soybeans grow and connect to science.

“There is so much behind the Henry Ford story and his connection to agriculture,” said Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom Coordinator Darlene Arneson. “The book looks at how Henry Ford grew up on a farm and searched for ways to use soybeans in the car plant, in his diet and in other ways. The essay contest focuses on how soybeans continue to be used and how they impact Wisconsin’s economy.”

Essay submissions must be 100- to 300-words in length and will be judged on content, grammar, spelling and neatness. The essay contest rules, lesson plans and sample classroom activities are located at wisagclassroom.org/events-activities/essay-contest. Essays are due April 1, 2021.

The contest is sponsored by Wisconsin Soybean Association, We Energies, Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board 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, more than 1,500 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].