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Chase Lee is 'Ag in the Classroom' winner

Chase Lee was the Pierce County winner of the Ag in the Classroom Essay Contest. Pictured with Chase is his teacher, Mrs. Stevens and Pierce County Farm Bureau Women’s Chair, Monica Krings. Submitted photo

Submitted by Pierce County Farm Bureau

Chase Lee, a fourth-grade student from Spring Valley, is the Pierce County winner of the Agriculture in the Classroom essay contest. Chase is the son of Brandon Lee and Monica Zignego. Mrs. Stevens is his fourth-grade teacher at Spring Valley Elementary.

Pierce County fourth and fifth graders were asked to write a 100 to 300-word essay with the theme, "Inventions that have made Agriculture Great."

Here is Chase's winning essay:

The Steam Tractors

Thomas Servery built the first steam engine in 1678, Thomas Newcomen made it a little bit better. James Watt improved the steam engine in the late 1800's so it was really useful. The steam engine provided steady power, it didn't tire after hard work, and it only was "fed" when it worked, instead of year-round, like animals.

The first powered farm implements in the early 1800's were potable engines-steam on wheels that could be used to drive mechanical farm machinery by way of a flexible belt. Around 1850, the first tractors engines were developed from there, and were widely adopted for agricultural use. Steam-power agricultural engines remained in use well into the 20th Century. The most successful early application of steam in farming was to plow.

The steam engine could be used for plowing, pulling, belt work, or other uses known as the steam tractor engine. The steam traction engine's popularity soared during the 1890's. Work was easier for the farmer as the steam engine pulled the plow and turned the belt to thresh the grain. In 1892, John Froelich build the first practical gasoline powered tractor in Clayton County Iowa.

Nearly 50 Pierce County students wrote essays for the competition sponsored by the Pierce County Farm Bureau, Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation, Insight FS and We Energies.

Farm Bureau's Ag in the Classroom program provides teachers and K-12 students with an understanding of how their food is produced. The program seeks to work within existing curricula to provide basic information on our nation's largest industry: Agriculture. Wisconsin's Ag in the Classroom program is carried out by a network of local educators, volunteers and representatives from agricultural organizations and businesses. The goal of the program is to help students gain a greater awareness of the role of agriculture in the economy and society, so that they may become citizens who support wise agricultural policies.