New ag program to educate youth on industry

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Andrea Anderson
Tuesday, November 26, 2013

JANESVILLE—A new organization plans to educate the young people of Rock County on the importance of agriculture.

The Rock County Agriculture Ambassador Program and its 10 committee members from  agriculture industries are working with a newly appointed agriculture ambassador to provide information about local production and how food gets to the dinner table.

Erin Daluge, a local dairy farmer, is the newly appointed ambassador.

Daluge plans to focus on educating youth first by visiting classrooms and hosting programs that make students walk away with a deeper understanding of nutrition and how hard people in agriculture work.

“I want them to know … the benefits of choosing milk over soda and making better life choices and the importance of agriculture, understanding agriculture and what the farmer has to do to get milk in a jug,” Daluge said. “It's not an easy process, and I want them to know more about it.”

The interactive educational programs will touch on five agriculture industries: beef, dairy, pork, vegetables and soybeans and corn.

Because of urbanization in the county, fewer young people know about the basics of agriculture and the important role it plays in the economy, Daluge said. She wants to create positive awareness around agriculture and teach students the three “F”'s of agriculture: food, fibers and fuel.

Sandy Larson, committee chairwoman, got the idea to start such a program when she was president of Rock County's Ag Business Council. She and the committee worked for about a year to create the educational programming and ambassador position.

“So many kids out there need a bit more education,” Larson said. “As an agriculture industry, we have to start doing some more education.”

The committee will supervise Daluge, who will be an employee of the Ag Business Council and be paid for her part-time work by the council and her fundraising.

It costs $200 to visit a classroom, and Daluge will need to raise money to cover the expenses. Committee members have donated seed money.

The goal is to visit 50 classrooms by the end of the school year and eventually branch out to other events such as the county fair, Larson said.

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