Denmark student wins Ag in the Classroom essay contest

Colleen Kottke
Wisconsin State Farmer
Mollie Goral, a fifth-grade student from Denmark, is the state winner of the Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom Essay Contest. Tammy Brunette is her teacher at Denmark Elementary School in Brown County.

Mollie Goral of Denmark is pretty a-maize-ing when it comes to the written word. The fifth-grader's essay was outstanding in the field of over 1,500 entries submitted in the Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom Essay Contest.

Wisconsin fourth and fifth graders were tasked with writing a 100-to-300-word essay based on the theme, “What’s Popping in Wisconsin? Corn’s value to our state’s economy".

Goral is a student of Tammy Brunette at Denmark Elementary School in Brown County. She is the daughter of Jeff and Erica Goral. 

The annual event is part of Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Ag in the Classroom program. The contest revolves around food and agriculture and is open to all fourth and fifth grade students across the state.

The contest is sponsored by Wisconsin Corn, Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation, Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Association and WE Energies.

Fifth grader Mollie Goral's essay was outstanding in the field of over 1,500 entries submitted in the Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom Essay Contest.

The nine district winners received a prize package including a plaque, Wisconsin popcorn, books, admission to the Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center and a classroom Get Popping STEM kit. Goral, the state winner, also received an additional plaque and Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center admission. This year’s finalists were:

  • District 1 – Kathryn Sorenson, Allenton Elementary, Washington Co.
  • District 2 – Autymn Norton, Juda Elementary, Green Co.
  • District 3 – Ariana Reinsbach, Fennimore Elementary, Grant Co.
  • District 4 – Ayva Tulip, Pepin Area Schools, Pepin Co.
  • District 5 – Kendall Carley, Omro Elementary School, Winnebago Co.
  • District 6 – Mollie Goral, Denmark Elementary School, Brown Co.
  • District 7 – Sylvia Spear, New London Middle School, Waupaca Co.
  • District 8 – Jacob Marti, Rural Virtual Academy, Wood Co.
  • District 9 – Astrid Sommerfeld, Luck Elementary, Polk Co.

Mollie’s Winning Essay:

                                            Wisconsin Corn

Lend me your ears and I promise it will be a-maize-ing as we journey through the importance of corn to Wisconsin. We grow multiple kinds of corn for many different uses that stretch beyond our state’s boundaries. Wisconsin contributes more than 3 million acres of fields to the corn industry and is best known for grain corn, but there are also fields of popcorn, sweet corn, and flint corn.

Grain corn (also called dent corn or field corn) isn’t just used for feeding the livestock of Wisconsin, but also produces ethanol, corn oil, cornstarch, and many other non-edible items. About 50% of the field corn grown in Wisconsin is used to feed farm animals, but about 37% is used for the biofuel, ethanol. Ethanol is more environmentally friendly to the air than pure gasoline, and it’s also a renewable energy source. The remaining 13% could be used for many products that involve corn including some glues, paints, ink and even show polish!

My favorite corn grown in Wisconsin is sweet corn. Sweet corn is often enjoyed during the summer season on the cob dripping with butter. When not eaten right away sweet corn can be preserved by freezing and canning it. In 2021, Wisconsin ranked 3rd for sweet corn production. Recently popcorn has become a more popular crop in Wisconsin. Locally grown popcorn and Wisconsin cheese is the perfect combination to enjoy. Usually grown in smaller crops, and the prettiest of the varieties, flint corn is often used as decoration in the fall.

It is clear that corn production in Wisconsin is an important part of its agriculture and economy. With its many uses, from food to fuel to everyday necessities, corn plays a big role in people’s lives even if you don’t realize it.