Reading, PA – State Sen. Judy Schwank, Berks Country and the Berks Agricultural Resource Network invite Berks County students to share their thoughts about farming in an essay and video contest celebrating National Ag Day. The day reminds people where their food comes from and the contribution agriculture makes to their everyday lives.
Essays will be grouped into three categories based on the students’ grade. A winning essay from each grade level will receive a cash award from BARN and be published in the March 21st edition of Berks Country. Winning videos will air on BCTV.
The categories and essay topics are as follows:
• Fourth to sixth grade: Farmers can raise sheep for their meat, wool or lanolin—a waxy substance found on sheep’s wool that is often used in lotions. Some farmers have raised sheep for landscaping or even as pets. In 100 to 150 words answer the question, If you were a farmer, why would you raise sheep?
• Seventh to eighth grade: The Spotted Lanternfly was found in Berks County in 2014 and threatens Pennsylvania’s grape and wine industries, as well as its hardwoods and fruit tree industries. In 250-300 words, write a letter to Gov. Tom Wolf explaining why Berks County farmers are worried about the Spotted Lanternfly.
• Nine to twelfth grade: Pennsylvania legalized the growing of industrial hemp in 2016 for research purposes by agencies, colleges and universities. Industrial hemp has many uses in textiles, building materials, industrial and environmental products, food and paper. In 450-500 words present an argument for why farmers should grow hemp.
• Fourth to twelfth grade: Bountiful Berks is a branding program developed by BARN to identify local products. A list of what the brand includes can be found at senatorschwank.com/essay. In a 30-second video, create an advertisement for a Bountiful Berks product. Videos must be uploaded to YouTube.
Essays and videos must be submitted online at www.senatorschwank.com/essay by February 19.
The National Ag Day program was started in 1973 by the Agriculture Council of America (ACA) to encourage every American to understand how food and fiber products are produced; value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy; and to appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable products.