Mollie Goral, a fifth-grade student from Denmark, is the state winner of the Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom Essay Contest. Wisconsin fourth and fifth graders were asked to write a 100-to-300-word essay with the theme, “What’s Popping in Wisconsin? Corn’s value to our state’s economy‘.
Mollie is the daughter of Jeff and Erica Goral. Tammy Brunette is her teacher at Denmark Elementary School in Brown County.
Each year the Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Ag in the Classroom program hosts an essay contest revolving around food and agriculture. This contest is open to all fourth and fifth grade students across the state.
Over 1,500 students wrote essays for the competition, which is sponsored by Wisconsin Corn, Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation, Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Association and WE Energies.
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. 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 County
District 2 Autymn Norton Juda Elementary, Green County
District 3 Ariana Reinsbach Fennimore Elementary, Grant County
District 4 Ayva Tulip Pepin Area Schools, Pepin County
District 5 Kendall Carley Omro Elementary School, Winnebago County
District 6 Mollie Goral Denmark Elementary School, Brown County
District 7 Sylvia Spear New London Middle School, Waupaca County
District 8 Jacob Marti Rural Virtual Academy, Wood County
District 9 Astrid Sommerfeld Luck Elementary, Polk County
Mollie’s Winning Essay:
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.