Throughout the agricultural community, we are regularly looking for ways to help America’s youth better understand agriculture. But we all have busy schedules, and many people may think it is somebody else’s job to work with students and teachers. Surely somebody will help agriculture come together and tell our story, right? Unfortunately, many times there are anti-agriculture organizations posing as friends of agriculture while playing into the hearts and minds of youth, teachers and parents with false information. They play on emotions and tell an inaccurate story of agriculture. They are nimble, well-funded and like to wax poetic with their romanticized view of agriculture.
Fortunately, there are two organizations working together to tell the real story of agriculture. The National Agriculture in the Classroom Organization is a nonprofit organization representing most of the state Agriculture in the Classroom programs around the country. Its mission is to educate K-12 teachers and students about the importance of agriculture by creating classroom materials and awards programs as well as hosting a national conference to demonstrate how agriculture can be applied in teaching core subject areas.
The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture is proud to support the important work of the National Ag in the Classroom Organization by providing comprehensive, accurate materials that AITC coordinators can utilize in their states. The Ag Foundation is also proud to be sponsoring the NAITCO annual conference and providing scholarships to classroom teachers and volunteers to attend. This year more than 400 educators nationwide will attend the conference in Louisville, Kentucky, June 16-20, to learn to incorporate real-life agricultural applications into science, social studies, language arts, math and nutrition lessons.
Resources are tight everywhere, so we consider it our duty at the Ag Foundation to help create programs and products that can easily be used by AITC coordinators across America from the tip of Alaska to the coast of Florida. In order to keep telling the story of agriculture accurately both the Ag Foundation and NAITCO need your continued help and support. Next time you have questions about how to work with teachers or students, please contact your AITC state coordinator or the Ag Foundation. We are happy to help you tell the story of agriculture.
Making accurate, trusted educational resources available to youth is not a limited market. While we may come from different organizations and backgrounds, we share a common goal and will continue to work together for the common good of agriculture. All are welcome under the tent and we look forward to working with you!
Julie Tesch is the executive director of the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture.