Reading – State Sen. Judy Schwank, Commissioner Christian Leinbach, Reading Eagle 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 up to eighth grade and one high school student will receive a cash award from BARN and be published in the March 20th edition of Berks Country. Winning videos will air on BCTV and readingeagle.com.
The categories and essay topics are as follows:
- Fourth to sixth grade: Farmers raise pigs because of their many byproducts such as: meat, lard, pet food, insulin, paintbrushes (hair), hides and gelatin for use in drug capsules, marshmallows and photographic film. Some farmers have even raised pigs for food waste management. In 100 to 150 words answer the question, If you were a farmer, why would you raise pigs?
- Seventh to eighth grade: A riparian buffer is a method of protecting waterways. Trees and shrubs are examples of buffers. When used on farms, riparian buffers can help protect a stream from agricultural runoff. In 250-300 words, If you were a farm consultant, what kind of riparian buffer would you recommend to a farmer?
- Nine to twelfth grade: Pennsylvania dairy farmers are facing historically low milk prices. This is leading some farmers to consider other revenue streams for their farms. In 450-500 words, How would you advise a dairy farmer hoping to diversify his or her operation?
- Fourth to twelfth grade: Bountiful Berks is a branding program developed by the Berks Agricultural Resource Network to identify local products. The brand includes Clover Farms Dairy, Redner’s Warehouse Markets, Pure Wild Tea and others. In a 30-second video, make an advertisement for a Bountiful Berks Product. Videos must be uploaded to YouTube.
Essays and videos must be submitted online at www.berksag.net/essay by February 28.
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.