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Commodity contest will help put agriculture books in schools

RICHMOND—Virginia’s Agriculture in the Classroom program will celebrate Agriculture Literacy Week concurrently with National Ag Week, March 23-29.

Volunteers from county Farm Bureaus and other agriculture organizations will mark the week by reading books about agriculture to children in their local schools.

Because Agriculture Literacy Week takes place during the heart of the college basketball season, the Virginia Foundation for AITC will hold its second annual “Agricultural March Madness” competition through March 29. Eight Virginia farm commodity groups—beef, dairy, equine, fruits, horticulture/gardening, pork, poultry and vegetables/grains—will face off in a friendly fundraising competition with the agricultural community deciding the winner.

Last year the contest raised $1,755, with the state’s equine industry generating $590. The March Madness funds raised were used to buy copies of the children’s book A Field Full of Horses and create accompanying classroom activities that were shared with teachers throughout Virginia.

“This is such a fun way to get quality books and agricultural resources into the hands of as many Virginia students as possible. As a farmer myself, I know that the agriculture community enjoys a little healthy competition in the name of good fun,” said Ellen Davis, AITC foundation chairman.

Visitors to who donate at least $10 by March 29 can cast a vote in support of one of the eight commodity groups. Votes and donations also can be mailed to AITC, Attention: Agricultural March Madness, 12580 West Creek Parkway, Richmond, VA 23238.

AITC will distribute a children’s book and correlating activity about the winning commodity to schools across the state. The winning commodity also will be highlighted in the next AITC newsletter and education email, which reach thousands of educators statewide.

Virginia AITC is part of a nationwide effort to help teachers and students understand and appreciate agriculture, which is Virginia’s and the nation’s largest industry. The program provides training and materials to nearly 1,900 educators each year, and its website provides teachers with Standards of Learning-aligned lessons, literacy activities and more. All AITC services are provided to educators at no cost.

The program is funded by donations received through the Virginia Foundation for AITC.

Media: Contact Karen Davis, AITC foundation executive director, at 804-290-1142 or Parke Sterling, AITC foundation development coordinator, at 804-290-1144.


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