Summer vacation is ending. It’s time for the kids to go back to school. As you fill your shopping cart or your child’s backpack with all the items needed for the school year, perhaps you can make it a learning experience. How many of the “must haves” were made possible because of agriculture?
• Pencils, paper, notepads, facial tissues — these all come from wood, most likely grown on a tree farm. As many as 170,000 pencils can be made from one tree.
• Art supplies: Some crayons are made with soybean oil. Paint brushes contain pig or cattle hair bristles. Pig or beef by-products are used to make chalk and glue. Many of the supplies for cleaning up after art class contain soybean products.
• New clothes — you can thank cotton farmers for comfortable jeans and many of the shirts and skirts available. Depending on size, you can get more than 200 pairs of jeans or 1200 t-shirts from one bale of cotton. They’re big bales!
• Warm sweaters, hats, gloves and scarves you’ll need this winter may be made of wool. Thank a sheep farmer for providing wool for yarn. The lanolin in hand lotion also comes from sheep.
• Does your child play football? One cowhide makes more than 20 leather footballs.
• Speaking of leather, does your child need new shoes?
It goes without saying that farmers play a large part in providing food for school lunches, a healthy breakfast before school and a nutritious dinner. We may need reminding, however, that agriculture touches every aspect of our lives, not just what we eat.
Program and Foundation Coordinator
Delaware Farm Bureau