Two sisters from Charles City are now published authors after winning their respective divisions in the annual Bushel of Stories agriculture writing contest. The contest for Iowa students in grades 3-8 was organized by the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation (IALF). 

Lucy Kehret, a fourth grade elementary student, and Sydney Kehret, a seventh grade middle school student, were recognized at a special book signing event last month in Charles City. 

“In its third year, this ag literacy program has inspired more than 115 Iowa students to write and submit agriculture-themed stories,” said Kelly Foss, executive director of the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation. “It’s exciting to see these student-authored stories, created through Iowa’s classrooms, come to life with creative illustration and professional editing. Our hope is to continue to inspire young authors, while providing more accurate agriculture books for young readers on bookshelves everywhere.”

First-place stories are edited to ensure accuracy, illustrated professionally by local artists, printed, then made available to Iowa educators free of charge. First place also includes a cash prize, plaque and teacher certificate.

Lucy’s story, “R.P. the Farm Dog,” was illustrated by local artist Chloe Safley. Sydney’s story, “Meg and the Eggstraordinary Egg,” was illustrated by local artist Dylan Jacobson. Both girls were taught in a homeschool program by Alissa Kehret in the Charles City school district.

In addition to the book signing in Charles City, Lucy and Sydney were joined by their peers and engaged in interactive agriculture-related activities about cattle, chickens and eggs. 

Entries open for 2024

The Bushel of Stories student writing competition encourages young students to explore and celebrate the world of agriculture through creative writing. 

Stories are judged in two divisions — elementary (3-5) and middle school (6-8). 

The 2024 Bushel of Stories contest is open now. Entries are due by March 22. This year’s theme, Innovation in Agriculture, invites students to explore past, present and future innovations in the agriculture industry and encourages nonfiction writing. 

To learn more about the Bushel of Stories contest, visit the IALF website at and click on the “for students” link under the Resources tab.

In the three years since its inception, Bushel of Stories has yielded 115 submissions from students across Iowa and resulted in six published books. 

All Bushel of Stories winning books can be accessed virtually on the IALF website, or educators can request copies from the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation.