Ag Day Activities Put Farming in Consumers’ Hands

Spring has officially sprung! The first day of spring marks National Ag Day, which began in 1973 to help Americans understand the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable products, as well as in maintaining a strong economy.

The theme for this year’s Ag Week celebration is “Agriculture: Food for Life,” which is fitting since those of us engaged in agriculture and agribusiness are responsible for growing and producing what each person needs for daily living: food, clothing and shelter. In addition, agriculturists get the credit for golf courses and grass turf used for sports like soccer and football. Through science, innovation and caring hands, a seed was the start of all these things that contribute to our quality of life!

One of the things I enjoy most about Ag Week is watching what others in our industry are doing to celebrate and advocate. Agronomist Karen Corrigan (@weedgirl24 on Twitter) put together Ag Bags for each student in her daughter’s preschool class to take home on National Ag Day. Each bag included a beef stick from Clint & Sons; the company donated one stick for each one that Corrigan purchased. Each bag also included ag mags, coloring books and soybean crayons donated by the Tazwell (Illinois) County Farm Bureau. In addition, Corrigan gave a bag full of books to the two preschool teachers.

“My daughter’s teachers mentioned they were having a hard time finding materials to teach kids where food comes from, so I made it a point to find them resources for their nutrition unit,” says Corrigan.

Corrigan’s unique Ag Day celebration inspired Pam Smith, who is crops technology editor for DTN/The Progressive Farmer magazine, to fill a “little free library” with agriculture-related books. Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization that inspires a love of reading, builds community, and sparks creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world.

Pam’s best girl, Lucy, helped her do a little “fall cleaning” in the little library.

Pam’s best girl, Lucy, helped her do a little “fall cleaning” in the little library.

“The idea of the little free library is to ‘take a book, return a book’,” explains Smith. “The only thing better than finding a book that touches your heartstrings is to share that joy with someone else.”

What I love about Smith’s little library is its unique barn shape. The barn shape is fitting for Smith, who as a child, snuck into the barn loft to read books.

“My husband and I were on a bicycling trip in Ohio and started noticing what looked like very fancy or interesting mail boxes. We finally stopped to check them out and realized they were little libraries. I was smitten,” says Smith. “About five years ago, my husband surprised me by giving me this barn-shaped little free library as a Christmas gift.”

Now these ladies have me thinking about what difference I can make in my own community to help residents better understand agriculture. Although we live in a rural community, we can’t take it for granted that everyone understands farming and food production. I know Iowa’s commodity groups have done a great job of producing children’s books, so I plan to stock little free libraries in Latimer and Hampton with children’s books that tell stories about farmers who raise the corn, soybean and forage crops that are fed to cattle, pigs, turkeys, chickens and other animals.

In honor of the hardworking men and women who care for land and livestock, today we’re featuring a recipe for the Ultimate Pork Breakfast Burgers. It really could be called the Ultimate Farmer’s Breakfast as it includes something from every food group including burger, bacon, eggs and cheese plus onions and peppers served on a sweet Hawaiian bun. Thinking about it is enough to make one’s mouth water!

Ultimate Pork Breakfast Burgers

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 bell peppers (any color), cut into ½-inch-wide strips
  • 1 large sweet yellow onion, sliced into ½-inch-wide rings
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ pounds ground pork
  • 2 teaspoons seasoned salt
  • Softened butter for toasting buns
  • 6 King’s Hawaiian hamburger buns, split
  • 6 eggs
  • 6 slices American cheese
  • 9 slices cooked bacon, cut in half crosswise

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bell pepper and onion and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and transfer to a plate; keep warm. Divide the pork into 6 equal portions and shape into patties; sprinkle evenly with seasoned salt. Grill or pan fry them in the skillet over medium-high heat until cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Remove patties from heat; keep warm.

Spread a small amount of butter on the cut sides of the buns and toast on a grill or in a pan until golden; keep warm.

Coat a nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Fry eggs to desired doneness then transfer to a platter. Top each egg with a slice of cheese.

To assemble, place a toasted bun bottom down on a plate and top with a pork burger, a fried egg, some of the sautéed vegetables, 3 bacon strips and the top bun. Use skewers to hold the sandwiches together, if desired.

Nutrition:

Per Serving: 731 Calories, 50g Total Fat, 336mg Cholesterol, 1,647mg Sodium, 27g Carbohydrate, 2g Fiber, 41g Protein


The Ultimate Pork Breakfast Burgers is provided by the Iowa Food & Family Project and is featured in the "Iowa Food & Family Cookbook," which you can download for FREE here: http://bit.ly/IFFPCookbook

Recipe from: Cristen Clark, Food & Swine

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Servings: 6