One thing that all people share in common is that we all have to eat, every single day. And for some children that don't grow up on a farm or ranch, they may never truly understand the importance of where that food comes from and the hard work behind it. But the Lubbock Soil and Water Conservation District is trying to change the way children look at the food they eat.
"I think all of America in this day and time, they all think that most of what they eat they buy at a grocery store or at McDonald's," Vick Bozeman said. "I was really impressed during the Super Bowl, Dodge had a theme about farmers and what farmers and ranchers do, and it stayed pretty true to our story. And our story is that we supply most of the world with food and fiber. We work long hours, we have a lot of freedom being our own bosses, but if you don't work, it doesn't pay."
Vick Bozeman is the president of the Lubbock SWCD and said that each year they pick two agriculture related topics for kids to think about and then come up with an artistic representation of their understanding.
"Every year we have a poster contest for our elementary students. This year we have participating the fifth graders from Cooper, and third and fourth graders from Idalou Elementary," Bozeman said. "Our two themes this year were 'Soil to Spoon' and 'Where Does Your Water Shed'. Even in these rural schools now days, most of these students don't know anything about agriculture, and it gives them a step up and lets us put a little agriculture in their lives, so it's really beneficial to us and to these students."
This year's themes had elementary kids thinking about where their food comes from besides just a grocery store or fast food restaurant, and where the water they use ends up. Both important concepts to teach children to think about at an early age.
"These posters give us a beginning, and we really enjoy it. It's hard to judge, because sometimes the themes are hard to understand for people this young, and we really have some talented kids," Bozeman said. "We judge it on artistry and mainly on the theme, if they understand the theme. So it's difficult for us to always pick winners, but we do have winners every year."
The SWCD also gives scholarships to ag students and poster winners to help them achieve their own goals in life later on.
"We give two scholarships, $250 scholarships to ag students, and we've had previous winners of our poster contest and our scholarships go on to do big things." Bozeman said. "One young man, Mr. Payne is in Baylor dental school so we've had a lot of success. And another one of our scholarship winners is State FFA president for the state of Texas this year, Mr. Vineyard."
Helping kids think about agriculture plants a seed in their minds about how important our food and fiber supply is, not only to them, but to the entire world.
"As you can see this year, there's really some talented artists and there's also some pretty good thinkers, so we're pretty proud of these kids," Bozeman said.
Poster contest participants came up with all kinds of ideas, ranging from showing the life cycle of crop plants to understanding the Ogallala Aquifer. And most importantly, they took away a bigger appreciation for agriculture.