In the News

Northeast Nebraska Students Learn About Corn and Careers at Ag Festival

Nearly 250 fifth grade students gathered in Pender to gain an understanding of agriculture in their local community.

PENDER, NEB. – Two hundred forty-six fifth grade students from eight schools in Northeast Nebraska gained firsthand experience about where their food, fiber, and fuel come from by attending the sixth annual Growing Potential Agriculture Festival that was held in Pender, Neb. on Sept. 8.

The annual festival is presented by the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation and the Northeast Nebraska Corn Growers Association, with volunteers from Northeast Nebraska coming together to help put on the festival.

“Community in agriculture is highlighted in this event. Organizations connect to offer students a hands-on experience to understand and appreciate agriculture and its vital importance to Nebraska,” said Courtney Shreve, 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, students discovered how livestock, such as beef cattle, rely on corn to grow and produce meat. Other activities included exploring machinery farmers use to harvest corn, learning how farmers care for the land, how airplanes are used to spray crop protection products on fields, and hearing about the importance of ethanol to Nebraska’s economy.

“This is our fifth year coming to this festival and it becomes more engaging each year,” said Molly Heese, fifth grade teacher at Wisner-Pilger Elementary. “The interactions between the students and presenters have been amazing. The students who have not had access to agriculture before are having their eyes opened to the opportunities, beyond being a farmer, available to them in agriculture.”

Participating schools from towns across Northeast Nebraska included Holy Trinity Elementary (Hartington),  Homer Elementary, Laurel-Concord-Coleridge Middle School, Pender Elementary, St. Mary’s (Wayne), Wakefield Community School, Wayne Elementary, Wisner-Pilger Elementary.

“Connecting with students in our area is a priority of the Northeast Nebraska Corn Growers Association,” said Mitch Schweers, president of the Northeast Nebraska Corn Growers Association. “We want students to understand the opportunities agriculture can provide for them in their own community. When students have a positive experience at an event like this, they can draw on it when they think about their futures and what their role in agriculture could be.”

Sponsors and volunteers include Pioneer Hybrids- Fogarty Seeds, Redline Aviation, Pender Municipal Airport, Keiser Ag and Irrigation, Michael Foods – Bloomfield, Nebraska Farm Bureau, Northeast Nebraska Corn Growers, Siouxland Ethanol, and Top Crop – Hartington.

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

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