WAYNE, NEB. – More than 200 fifth graders from eight classrooms in Northeast Nebraska gained firsthand experience on where their food, fiber, and fuel come from by attending the third annual Growing Potential Agriculture Festival that was held in Wayne, Neb. on Aug. 29.

The annual festival is put together by the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation and the Northeast Nebraska Corn Growers Association, with 15 sponsors and volunteers coming together to help put on the successful event. The Wayne FFA Chapter also volunteered at the festival.

“Through this event, our organizations connect their common interest of agricultural literacy to offer a hands-on learning experience for Northeast Nebraska students. The aim is to create an understanding and knowledge of agriculture to prepare students to be informed citizens,” said Courtney Schaardt, director of outreach education at the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation. 

Students made their way around learning stations that covered different facets of agriculture. At one station, the students discovered how livestock, such as beef cattle and chickens, rely on corn to produce the products they enjoy. Other activities included exploring the machinery farmers use to plant and harvest corn, how farmers care for the land, and the importance of ethanol to Nebraska’s economy.

“This is our third year coming to this festival and each year it gets better and better,” said Nicholas Kleve, fifth grade teacher at Louis and Clark Elementary in South Sioux City, “The kids are exposed to so many different agricultural career opportunities they have here in Nebraska from business to science. There’s something for everyone.”

Schools participated from towns across Northeast Nebraska including Wayne, Wisner-Pilger, Hartington, and South Sioux City.

“Every year the festival continues to grow in importance as students no longer live on farms,” said Mitch Schweers, president of the Northeast Nebraska Corn Growers Association. “We are excited to provide an opportunity to showcase how students can connect with agriculture in our communities. We thank the agriculture groups who joined together to sponsor and volunteer at this event.”

Sponsors and volunteers include Channel, F&M Bank, Farm Credit Services, Grossenberg, Hefty Seed and Chemical, Hoegemeyer, Michael Foods, Nebraska Corn Growers, Nutrien, Pioneer, Sietec, Siouxland Ethanol, Wayne State Bank, Wayne FFA Chapter, and Wayne County Farm Bureau.

The mission of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation is to engage youth, educators, and the general public to promote an understanding of the vital importance of agriculture in the lives of all Nebraskans. The Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. For more information about the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation, visit www.nefbfoundation.org.