Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Want to get better at ag trivia?

As you begin to search for calendars for the new year, why not support a good cause and have fun learning agriculture facts when getting your next calendar.

Oregon’s Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation is selling its school-year calendar that shows artwork by students from around the state. The calendar is great for several reasons: It showcases some terrific artwork, it supports important ongoing activities of the AITC organization, but most importantly it educates and promotes agriculture.

The artwork shows images of agriculture, but also each day of the month includes some facts or trivia about agriculture in Oregon and the rest of the country. Anyone getting one of these calendars will be intrigued by the information, and not just to be better prepared for the next game of Trivial Pursuit.

Some of the facts in the calendar (one for each month):

  • 100 percent of all U.S. grown hazelnuts come from Oregon.
  • The average American eats 21 lbs. of onions per year.
  • Turkeys have 3,500 features at maturity.
  • Pig fat is used to make crayons, cosmetics and chalk.
  • Bees must fly 55,000 miles to produce a pound of honey.
  • FFA Officer teams may travel 30,000 miles during the year.
  • Rhubarb is a vegetable.
  • Earthworms have five hearts.
  • Americans spend 7.1 percent of the income on food.
  • Dairy cows can produce 125 lbs of saliva a day.
  • The first ice cream parlor in the U.S. was opened in 1776.
  • An acre will produce enough wheat for 2,500 loaves of bread.

The calendar contest is one of the most popular events held by the AITC Foundation. This year, more than 1,500 students in 24 counties entered the competition. During the State Fair in Salem, the winners of the contest are recognized for their accomplishments and given a chance to talk about the pictures they submitted. Their parents and teachers are also invited to speak.

The students talk about why they like to do art, but also what agriculture means to them. For some students, they’re inspired as they look out their house window — and see family members operating farm machinery in the field. For others, their teachers have given them lessons about agriculture that help.

One of the young artists who really made an impression during the awards ceremony this past fall was Tyler S., who attended Grade 6 at Brooklyn Elementary in Baker City, Ore. His entry, published for December in the calendar, showx a logging operation with the machinery used to extract the trees and place them on the truck. On the side of the truck, a sign says Baker County Logging.

Tyler did more than just talk about his art when he accepted his award. He explained how important logging is to his county, and how it gave jobs to people in the community. He also talked about the impact of what happens when environmentalists or others shut down logging operations, and how it can hurt families who depend on logging.

It was clear that this was more than just an art contest to Tyler: To him, this calendar contest was a chance to explain to others why logging is such an important economic activity to his area of the state.

To see Tyler’s art as well as the work of other students that appears in the calendar, see:

To order a calendar for $5 each, contact Oregon Ag in the Classroom at or Phone: (541) 737-8629.

Here are links to websites for the national Agriculture in the Classroom program and programs in other Western states:
(Elaine Shein is executive editor of Capital Press, and also the president of Oregon Ag in the Classroom Foundation).

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