Members of the St. Lawrence County Farm Bureau board and librarians from the North Country Library System meet in Canton to hand out farm-themed children’s books. Left to right: St. Lawrence County Agricultural Bureau Vice President Dan Huntley, Canton Free Library Director, Emily Hastings, Canton Free Library Youth Services Specialist, Valerie White, Director of Hepburn Library in Madrid, Deborah Lauther, Youth Services Consultant for the North Country Library System, Angela Newman, Director of the Ogdensburg Library, Penny Kerfien, Director of the North Country Library System, Matt Corey, Associate Officer of the Kevin Daniels Insurance Agency, Steven Glick, Farm Credit East Credit Representative, Emily Huntley, and Brent Phillips, St. Lawrence County Board Member and Owner of Phillips Ag. Photo: David Sommerstein
Sep 27, 2021 – Farmers in St. Lawrence County are using children’s books and libraries to teach agriculture to the next generation. It’s part of a statewide effort to educate more school-aged children about farming.
The St. Lawrence County Farm Bureau donates six sets of books to the St. Lawrence, Jefferson and Lewis County Regional Library System. The books are colorful, fun on everything from beekeeping and cow farming to farm-to-table nutrition. Each has been selected over the years by Cornell University’s Agricultural Literacy Program.
“There is such a variety of topics being discussed about how things are produced to feed the world,” said Brent Phillips, board member for the county agricultural office. “Children need to understand this and be aware of it. “
Phillips and fellow board member Dan Huntley delivered the books to the North Country Library System outside the Canton Free library earlier this month. The $ 1,800 donation was a partnership between the Farm Bureau and local businesses Farm Credit East, Phillips Ag, Kelley Farm and the Kevin Daniels Insurance Agency.
Previously, almost everyone in this part of New York had a family member in the farming business. But as small farms have regrouped into larger ones and are now more dependent on a skilled, often immigrant workforce, few children have more personal ties to the farm.
“It’s such an agricultural area. But not all of the children who live here are involved in farming. They don’t all come from farming families,” said Valerie White, youth services coordinator at the Canton Free Library. She said the new sets of books would give children a lot to learn about farming. “I think it’s fabulous. They can see where their food comes from, where their milk comes from, who makes their maple syrup. It is a great addition to our collection.
The books are now part of the North Country Library System, so anyone in St. Lawrence, Jefferson or Lewis counties can have them delivered to their local library.