Ag Literacy Festival
Teaching Youth About Ag

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 that focus on more predominantly urban areas of Nebraska are sponsored by the Agricultural Literacy Coalition of Nebraska. This includes Cass, Douglas, Lancaster, Sarpy and Saunders Counties. The goal of the Agricultural Literacy Coalition is to help youth 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
  • University of Nebraska Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center (Formerly the Agricultural Research and Development Center)
  • Waverly Grange

Ag Literacy Corn

Soybean Presentation

Over 33,000 Students Learn at Ag Awareness Festivals

(Cass, Douglas, Sarpy & Saunders Counties)

The first fall festival was held in 1996 at the UNL's Eastern Nebraska Research, Extension and Education Center near Mead, Nebraska, serving as a one-day pilot project for 200 Omaha Public School sixth graders. In recent years (initially to accommodate Covid restrictions), the festival moved to the Saunders County fairgrounds in Wahoo. The SAUNDERS COUNTY FESTIVAL 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. This year 630 fourth grade students attended the 4-day festival and over 19,200 students have attended the Saunders County festival from 1996-2023.

In an effort to reach more urban youth, a LANCASTER COUNTY FESTIVAL 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 9,300 students have attended the spring festival.  In addition, 525 students learned about ag virutally in 2021 (during Covid shutdowns when an in person festival was not permitted).

The expansion of the COOPER FARM (Omaha), SARPY/CASS COUNTY (Gifford Farm), and GIFFORD FARM (Bellevue) festivals have expanded ag learning opportunities to additional schools in or near the metro area since 2016. With the introduction of these festival locations in 2016, 2018, and 2021 respectively, more students have been able to take part in this valuable agricultural education experience. This has been particularly beneficial for schools that faced challenges attending due to travel time constraints. As a result, over 5,800 students have had the chance to engage in hands-on learning at these three festivals since they started.

The Ag Literacy Festivals focusing on Cass, Douglas, Lancaster, Sarpy and Saunders Counties have brought ag education to over 33,000 youth learners since the first festival began in 1996!  

At the festivals, students learn about a variety of ag concepts, production and products.  Topics vary by site and year, but generally the festivals include all or some of the following:   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, on-the-farm activities, ag careers, and horses.  Goats, horticulture, and ask a farmer sessions have also been included, depending on the time available.


Check back for 2024 dates. 

Cooper Farm Urban Agriculture Education Center, Omaha, Nebraska

Contact Nebraska Extension at 402-444-1799 for more information.

April 2-4, 2024 

Gifford Farm, Bellevue, Nebraska

Contact Nebraska Extension at 402-444-1799 for more information.

Check back for 2024 dates. 

Sandhills Global Event Center (Lancaster Event Center), Lincoln, Nebraska

Contact Nebraska Extension at 402-441-7180 for more information.

April 9-11, 2024

Gifford Farm, Bellevue, Nebraska

Contact Nebraska Extension at 402-444-1799 for more information.

October 1-4, 2024

Saunders County Fairgrounds, Wahoo, Nebraska

Contact Nebraska Extension at 402-624-8030 for more information.


Watch Our Video!

Take an in-depth look at the 2023 Saunders County Ag Literacy Festival.  Follow along and see what fourth graders are learning about agriculture.  Listen to what teachers have to say about the festivals.  And check out the impact of ag literacy festivals across Nebraska! 

Ag Literacy Report

See How the Festivals are Making a Difference

Students and teachers consistently give the festivals excellent reviews.  Download the statewide report to learn about the impact ag literacy festivals have across the state of Nebraska!

2023 Ag Literacy Festival Locations

Where are the Other Festivals?

Ag Literacy Festivals are providing a fun way for youth to learn about agriculture at various locations across Nebraska.  Contact your local Nebraska Extension office to learn if there is a festival in your neighborhood!