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My Family's Egg Farm

DES MOINES – A new non-fiction book by children’s author Katie Olthoff is now available and tells the story of raising chickens and producing eggs on an Iowa farm. “My Family’s Egg Farm” is available by request free for students and teachers from the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation.

The story follows Kole, a 9-year-old boy in Iowa, who helps on his grandparent’s chicken farm producing eggs. Kole takes the readers on a tour of the family farm and discusses how they care for the chickens and collect and process the eggs. He discusses the nutrition that eggs provide to a balanced diet and how eggs are used to make many different food products. 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 eighth in a series by Olthoff who is a former teacher and understands the importance of having high quality, relevant non-fiction books for students. Iowa Core educational standards require that up to 50% of student reading be informational or non-fiction. Olthoff writes the books for IALF in an effort to provide non-fiction, agriculture-based resources to schools.

“Iowa is a leader in egg production in the U.S.,” said Will Fett, IALF executive director. “‘My Family’s Egg Farm’ offers the opportunity to teach how chickens are raised and the care that farmers provide them. We can also discuss important topics like protein in the human diet and how eggs can provide other essential nutrients like lutein, choline and vitamin D.”

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.

The book features a small chicken farm that produces around 144,000 eggs per day. Larger chicken farms may manage up to 5 million birds. The farm uses a conventional housing system for its birds. The book discusses pros and cons to other housing systems available.

“Because of biosecurity concerns for the birds, most people will never get to visit a chicken barn,” said Katie Nola of the Iowa Egg Council. “This book will give people a look into an Iowa chicken farm and see how farmers care for their chickens.”

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 Egg Council. The book also has two lesson plan companion resources that will help teachers integrate the book into a science lesson, social studies lesson, or a language arts lesson. The lesson plans are aligned with Iowa Core standards and easily fit into an approved course of study.

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

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A new non-fiction book by children’s author Katie Olthoff is now available and tells the story of raising chickens and producing eggs on an Iowa farm. My Family’s Egg Farm is available by request free for students and teachers from the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation (IALF).

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