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WASHINGTON DC

The American Farm Bureau Federation and American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture are pleased to support Miss America 2016 Betty Cantrell and her platform of 'Healthy Children, Strong America,' which encourages children to make healthy choices and stay physically active

Cantrell, who grew up on a 700-acre farm in Warner Robins, GA, will join Foundation Executive Director Julie Tesch in introducing the 'First Peas to the Table' contest. This new national competition for schools will encourage children in kindergarten through fifth grade to plant, raise and harvest peas this spring.

The contest — including official guidelines and rules — was be announced Feb. 15 at AFBF's Young Farmers & Ranchers Leadership Conference in Kansas City, MO.

'We're honored to have Miss America 2016 Betty Cantrell join us as we launch the First Peas to the Table Contest,' Tesch said. 'Getting your hands dirty is the best way to learn! Through this contest, we aim to provide fun, hands-on learning opportunities for students across the country.'

The contest highlights the Foundation's latest Book of the Year, 'First Peas to the Table,' by Susan Grigsby. The Foundation created the contest to help students understand the importance of healthy foods and agriculture in their everyday lives, and to increase their understanding of how plants grow. Classrooms will compete for the grand prize of a visit from Cantrell.

In conjunction with the contest, Tesch encourages educators to invite local farmers and ranchers to speak in their classrooms about food production and the importance of agriculture.

'It was an honor to have Miss America 2016 Betty Cantrell join us in launching the First Peas to the Table Contest,' said Julie Tesch, executive director of the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture. 'We know from experience that getting your hands dirty is the best way for children to learn! Through this contest, we aim to provide fun, hands-on learning opportunities for students across the country.'

The contest runs March 1 – May 16. An official entry form, guidelines and rules are available at http://www.agfoundation.org/projects/first-peas-contest-2016.

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