Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Jessica A. Chittenden

March 17, 2009

Commissioner to Join Industry for Ag Literacy Day

60,000 2nd Graders across New York to Learn about Agriculture This Week

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker will join hundreds of volunteers to promote agriculture literacy across New York State this week, National Agriculture Week. Tomorrow, March 18th, Commissioner Hooker will read at Pieter B. Coeymans Elementary School in Coeymans to help increase the awareness and understanding of agriculture in New York State.

"Agriculture Literacy Day is an excellent opportunity for the farm community to come together and share their knowledge and experiences with children across the State," the Commissioner said. "By reading an agricultural themed book, presenting teachers with an activity and being on hand to answer questions first hand, students will gain a greater understanding of where their food comes from, how it is grown and how it gets to their kitchen or cafeteria table. I am pleased to once again participate in this annual event and help spread the good word of agriculture to children, our most impressionable and future consumers."

Tomorrow, March 18, 2009, the Commissioner will read to four second grade classes at Pieter B. Coeymans Elementary School in Coeymans (Albany County). Over 1,000 schools will be visited over the course of the week with volunteers reading to second graders and talking to students about agriculture in New York State. After the reading, the book will be donated to the school library with a bookplate recognizing the donor and New York Ag Literacy Day. Lesson plans and activities will also be provided to teachers. Last year, more than 1,500 books were read to more than 60,000 students.

The Empire State Investigator: The Applesauce Bandit is the featured book this year, written by New York State Agriculture in the Classroom staff. The Applesauce Bandit is the story of two second grade students who are aspiring to be their classís top newspaper reporters and solve the mystery of who took their teacherís applesauce during recess. During their investigation, they learn how apples are grown, harvested and processed into applesauce.

Agriculture Literacy Day in New York is sponsored and coordinated by New York Ag in the Classroom, which is a partnership of the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, Cornell University, New York State Education Department, and New York Farm Bureau. Ag in the Classroom works with cooperative extension educators, teachers, Farm Bureau members, and others throughout the State to foster an awareness, understanding and appreciation of agriculture and the total food and fiber system.

New York agriculture encompasses 25 percent of the Stateís landscape and generated $4.5 billion for our economy last year. Currently, New York State has 7.5 million acres of farmland with more than 34,000 farms.

For more information on the annual New York Agriculture Literacy Day or New York Ag in the Classroom, contact its Coordinator, Heather Davis, at 607-255-9253 or, or visit the Ag in the Classroom website at

2009 Press Releases