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Farming (America at Work Series)

On a visit to her cousin Nicks farm in Ohio, Karin learns all about raising onions from spring planting to harvesting. Then, when Nick travels to Nebraska to help on Karin’s family farm, he learns all about raising beef, from birthing new calves to the cattle drive to market. This book will teach students all the hard work it takes for producers to produce the products consumers want.

Interested in using this resource in your classroom? Check out the posters that go along with this book: Producers.

Author: Ann Love & Jane Drake
Published: 1998
Grade Level: Grades 3-4
Publisher: Kids Can Press

Comprehension Questions

Do the producers in the story produce good or services?


Why was Nicks dad concerned about thunderstorms?

The rain and hail could damage onions left drying in the field then no consumers will want to buy them. Nicks dad would lose a lot of money!

Why do onion farmers plant onions in greenhouses in the early spring?

It’s cold in Ohio, unlike southern and some western states. The onions need a head start in order to grow and get big enough for harvest.

Producers need capital resources to produce goods. What are some of the capital resources that onion farmers use?

Greenhouses; tractors with cultivator attachment, disc attachment, and roller attachment, hoes, windrower, onion harvester, crates, plastic covering to protect from rain and hail, etc.

Where do producers typically get the money to buy these capital resources?

They get the money from loans or from profits (earnings) saved from previous years. Some producers issue stock to raise money.

What does Karin’s family produce?


What are some of the capital resources used by the beef producers?

Wheeled irrigation pipes, hay baler, post driver, fencing materials, barns, a windmill to pump water, branding iron, etc.

The story says that ranchers work hard all year to find the best price for their livestock. Why is this important for ranchers?

The higher the prices they get for their livestock, the more money they will make. If they can’t make a profit over the long run, they will go out of business.

What is different and what is the same about producing onions and cattle?

Different: use of different kinds of capital resources; producing animals vs. vegetables, different human capital (i.e. skills) needed. Same: both produce goods as opposed to services; natural, capital and human resources are needed to produce both, although the specific resource will differ; both need good prices for their goods in order to stay in business in the long run, both take a lot of hard work!

What natural resources do all farmers need?

Land, water, minerals, the sunshine.

What good or service do you want to produce when you grow up?

Answers will vary. Students may wish to draw a picture of themselves producing a good or service and write a short paragraph to accompany the picture.