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New book: “My family’s beef farm,” by children’s author Katie Olthoff

By Staff | Mar 15, 2016

DES MOINES (IALF) – A new non-fiction book by children’s author Katie Olthoff is now available, which tells the story of raising cattle on a modern beef farm.

“My Family’s Beef Farm” is available by request free for students and teachers from the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation.

The story follows Cecelia, a 10-year-old farm girl in Iowa. She lives with her family on a beef cattle farm.

Cecelia takes the readers on a tour of the family farm and discusses how farmers care for livestock and raise safe, nutritious beef. The book is written at a third-grade reading level and has supplemental text that gives additional background information for more advanced readers.

The book is the second in a series by Olthoff who is a former teacher. She said she understands the importance of having high quality, relevant, non-fiction books for youths.

Iowa Core educational standards require that up to 50 percent of student reading be informational or non-fiction. In elementary classrooms there is a lack of these non-fiction resources.

“People have a desire to find out how their food is grown,” said Olthoff. “The My Family’s Farm series is the perfect solution to telling the food production story and providing more non-fiction resources for teachers.”

Olthoff lives on a working turkey farm in central Iowa with her husband and family. Her first book detailed how turkeys were raised on their family farm.

She currently works for the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association as director of communications. She is active in the agriculture community in Iowa and beyond as a volunteer for Common Ground, a national network of farm women who share information on food and farming with consumers across the country.

She has experience teaching and communicating about agriculture with her blog, On the Banks of Squaw Creek.

Copies of the book are being made available to all Iowa elementary schools and additional copies are available on request.

The book is a special project of the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation with financial support from the Iowa Beef Industry Council. The book also has two lesson plan companion resources that will help teachers integrate the book into a science lesson or a math lesson.

The lesson plans are aligned with Iowa Core standards and easily fit into an approved course of study.

“Raising beef in Iowa is an important part of the agriculture industry,” said Will Fett, executive director of IALF. “We can feel safe about where our food comes from when we hear about it directly from the people who raised it.”

For more information about this book or other education resources contact the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation at info@iowaagliteracy.org.

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