ADDING AG IN THE CLASSROOM

Summer has finally come to an end, which means that yet another school year is ready to start. This means that both teachers and students alike will be transitioning back into a stricter schedule. This is also a time that students will be gaining more knowledge on many subjects. The obvious courses are math, science, history, and reading/English. However, there is another crucial subject that some schools or teachers simply overlook. One that, in fact, encompasses all four of these core subjects.

This would be an ag class. A course whose content is rooted within the agricultural industry and encompasses mathematics, different histories, scientific research, and lots of reading and interpretation. Some might beg to differ, implying that agriculture is solely being a farmer. This would be far from the truth. Agriculture includes math when a farmer must calculate how many plants he can grow within a given area of land, while hopefully achieving some profitability. Ranchers must keep track of their herds and be able to provide enough feed for each animal to properly grow. These topics lead directly into the science of agriculture. Each practice must become as efficient as possible, in order to feed a growing global population. This is only doable through research and precision technologies. History is also a necessity because agriculturalists must learn from past mistakes, in the hopes of continuous improvement. And finally, being able to interpret agricultural newsletters and markets is a must-have talent. Without knowing where past crop markets have been, it would be extremely difficult to predict where they might go.

If you are searching to become more knowledgeable about anything agriculture related, there are resources to help you! Especially if you are a teacher who wants to properly inform your students about where their food comes from or how it’s grown. One fantastic resource is known as Ag in the Classroom. This program is supported by the USDA and is typically developed through Farm Bureaus. Ag in the Classroom provides easily accessible information for anyone wanting to learn or teach others about agricultural practices. For example, AITC has developed a calendar for the school year that has an ag fact on each day, which can be found here! Did you know that wheat from Illinois is used to make cookies, cakes, and cereal? How about that the word “harvest” came from the Old English word haerfest, meaning “autumn” and “harvest-time.” Fun Fact: an acre of corn gives off 4,000 gallons of water per day in evaporation! People might think that agriculture science is boring or stale, but there are many interesting facts hidden just beneath the surface!

The Ag in the Classroom’s website has a whole page dedicated to providing teachers with reliable sources for agricultural topics. It can be reached through this link, and includes information ranging from lesson booklets to GED materials to eating a healthy diet to fact sheets for students! Ag in the Classroom is a wonderful tool for anyone to utilize, especially when learning about where food comes from as well as how it’s grown.

Rosie Roberts
Iowa State University

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