Where Agriculture & Art Intersect

Posted: May 23, 2023

What do you get when you combine farm-focused lessons, artistic kids, and an opportunity to illustrate agriculture? Clever and creative cover designs, that’s what!

Cover design winner Scarlett Tompkin’s third grade class gathers to celebrate at Indian Creek.

DeKalb County Farm Bureau has offered a design contest for elementary students for more than three decades. The contest has evolved over time. In the early years, children created informative posters. Later, they were invited to invent t-shirt designs. Then for several years, the winning designs appeared on restaurant placemats. No matter the end product, students solidified their ag understanding through art.

For the fourth year, students were asked to design the cover of this magazine. And wow, did they come through!

Forty-nine teachers from eleven schools submitted 715 student designs this year. Entries were judged by members of the Farm Bureau Ag Literacy Committee, who reviewed the entries by grade to choose first, second, and third place winners and three honorable mention recipients at each level.

The design deemed most suitable for the CONNECTIONS magazine cover was then selected from the five first place entries to be the grand prize winner.

As seen on the cover, this year’s overall winner was created by Scarlett Tompkins. Her design beautifully illustrates the 3rd grade contest theme of “Farm Grown.” Scarlett is a student of Mrs. Julie Headley at Indian Creek Elementary in Shabbona.

First place winners in each of the other grades included: First Grade—Zoey Nelson of Indian Creek Elementary; Second Grade—Shane Peterson of Indian Creek Elementary; Fourth Grade—Laila Inez Beard of Cortland Elementary; and Fifth Grade—Natalie Tillman of Hiawatha Elementary in Kirkland.

Placing winners, honorable mention recipients and their teachers and families were invited to an Awards Night at Farm Bureau on May 6. During the event, first through third place winners received gift cards, honorable mention recipients received special certificates, and the grand prize winner was announced.

Watch a video of the winning designs at https://growyoungminds.org/programs-events/design-contest/.