Teachers get creative in teaching ag in school

Agricultural education provides students the opportunity to learn about where their food comes from while also reinforcing lessons in core subjects like math, science and reading.


Amanda Radke, BEEF Magazine

Apr 05, 2019


I’m always surprised by which BEEF Daily blog posts get the most traction. I try to cover a wide range of topics from production management tips to fake meats to consumer trends to working alongside family in multi-generational operations.


In turn, your engagement on social media helps me better understand which topics resonate with you the most and what you would like to read more about.


One of my most popular posts to date has been, “Ag education desperately needed in schools.”


Here’s an excerpt:


“Agricultural education isn’t just for rural school kids; it should be a requirement in every urban school across the country as well. Kids should be outside, working with their hands and learning the meaning of hard work, the circle of life and the difference between pets and livestock.


“More than that, agriculture should be, and can easily be, incorporated into core subjects like math, science, reading and social studies.”


What I’ve learned through this post is so many of you recognize the importance of teaching agricultural literacy in schools. Yet, agricultural education continues to be on the chopping block in so many schools for various reasons, from budget cuts to demands for better standardized testing scores to rigid syllabuses to administrators not valuing hands-on learning.


In agricultural courses, students have the opportunity to learn how to weld, change a tire, plant a seed, grow a garden, raise chickens and eggs, cut wood in the shop or study the soil. These skills can be utilized into adulthood. And guess what? They also require an understanding of the core subjects that are so critical for our students.


As a mom of three, I appreciate our educators who go above and beyond to bring some of these unconventional lessons into their classrooms.


Each year, the National Agriculture in the Classroom Organization (NAITCO), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Farm Credit honor teachers who are innovative in introducing agricultural concepts into the classroom.


Last week, these three partner organizations announced eight teachers to be selected for the 2019 National Excellence in Teaching About Agriculture Award.


“We are proud to honor these teachers who use agricultural concepts to deliver important reading, writing, math, nutrition, science and social studies lessons to students,” said Victoria LeBeaux, the National Agriculture in the Classroom program leader for USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). This organization provides federal leadership and annual funding for NAITC. “The real-life connections teachers make by using items students use every day resonates with these students.”


According to an April 3 press release, this year’s winning teachers are:


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