Ag Literacy Coalition and Festivals
With continued urban growth, many youth do not have as much exposure to agriculture as in the past. Many communities are losing touch with Nebraska's greatest resource - agriculture. The Agricultural Literacy Festivals provide an opportunity for youth to take a close-up look at agriculture.
The Ag Literacy Festivals are sponsored by the Agricultural Literacy Coalition of Nebraska. The goal of the Agricultural Literacy Coalition is to help youth (predominantly urban) become aware of agriculture. The group develops resources and opportunities that will increase youth understanding and awareness about agriculture concepts.
Coalition & Sponsors
Current coalition members and sponsors include:
- Agriculture in the Classroom
- Douglas County Farm Bureau
- Lancaster County Farm Bureau
- Midwest Dairy Association
- Nebraska AgRelations Council
- Nebraska Agri Business Club
- Nebraska Beef Council
- Nebraska Corn Development, Utilization and Marketing Board
- Nebraska Extension in Saunders, Lancaster and Douglas/Sarpy Counties
- Nebraska Poultry Industries
- Nebraska Pork Producers Association
- Nebraska Soybean Board
- Omaha Agribusiness Club
- Papillion Grange No. 401
- University of Nebraska Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center (Formerly the Agricultural Research and Development Center)
- Waverly Grange
Over 31,000 Students Learn at Ag Awareness Festivals
The first fall festival was held in 1996 at the UNL's Agricultural Research and Development Center (ARDC) near Mead, Nebraska (now known as the Eastern Nebraska Research, Extension and Education Center). The one-day event served as a pilot project for 200 Omaha Public School sixth-graders. The FALL FESTIVAL IN SAUNDERS COUNTY has since grown to either 3 or 4 days annually with up to 950 fourth-grade students attending, primarily from Douglas, Sarpy and Saunders Counties. Over 18,644 students attended the fall festival from 1996-2022.
In an effort to reach more urban youth, a SPRING FESTIVAL IN LANCASTER COUNTY was added in 2001 at the Lancaster County Event Center in Lincoln. This festival is primarily for Lancaster County youth. It, too, started as a one-day festival and has grown to two/three days. Over 8,200 students have attended the spring festival. In addition, 525 students learned about ag virutally in 2021.
Additional festival days were added at Cooper Farms in Omaha, NE (2016-2019, 2022), Sarpy/Cass County (2018, 2019, 2022), and Gifford Farms (2022). The addition has provided an opportunity for schools to attend that previously were not able to due to travel time constraints. These festivals have provided ag education for 4,364 students.
At the festivals, students learn about a variety of ag concepts, production and products. Topics vary by site and year, including: beef production/products and food safety, ruminant nutrition, dairy production/products and nutrition, grain production/products, farming technology, water resources and irrigation, swine production/products, poultry production/products, sheep, and horses. Goats, horticulture, and ask a farmer sessions have also been included, depending on the time available.
Students and teachers consistently give the festivals excellent reviews. Download our report to learn about the impact ag literacy festivals have across the state of Nebraska!