Wanda Schott Patsche Pork Producer Commentary,10 Really Fun Reasons Why Every School Needs Ag in the Classroom, February 21st 2019

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1. Helps so you don’t look dumb

There can’t be anything more embarrassing than not knowing simple facts like where your milk comes from, that Christmas trees really come from Christmas Tree farms and bacon comes from a pig.

Face it, no one wants to look like an idiotYou may laugh but it’s crazy how many people don’t have basic ag literacy skills. And sometimes these same people end up being in high profile positions making decisions affecting those of us who grow food. This is why every school should be required to have Ag in the Classroom Instruction. We are planting seeds, both literally and figuratively.

2. STEM? Don’t sweat. Ag in the Classroom has it covered.

The biggest benefits of using Ag in the Classroom materials is the activities are just downright fun and educational, all at the same time! There is no downside. Lots of STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) lessons will surely keep students engaged.

Also a note for teachers: Don’t worry about whether you should teach Ag in the Classroom lessons. All lessons are based on teaching standards. Did you hear that? All lessons are based on teaching standards.

Here are just a few of the STEM activities available:

Grade 6-8

Robots in High Tech Farming

Cruisin for Bruisin Food Packaging Specialist

Food Systems Feed the World

Got Guts?

Mix it Up! Food Scientist

Roll the Genes

Grades 9-12

Hen House Engineering

Energy and the Commodity Trace-back

Global Food Security

3. You might be able to taste some awesome and nutritional food!

No kidding! Students may actually taste and like vegetables and fruits. For some, this may be the first time tasting specific foods. And a bonus? They enjoy them! There are lots of lessons involving food. (And, oh I love food!)

One great example is the lesson “Who Grew My Soup.” Students not only enjoy an engaging book, but they also taste and learn about different vegetables. There is also an activity where they can vote on a fruit served four different ways–fresh, canned, dried and frozen and vote on which they prefer. And when they are done? They will graph the results. How fun is that!

Tasting and learning to like vegetables!

4. You get to read really fun books like and “Something Good!”

These books are engaging and informational. Kids love them and they are learning without realizing it. “Something Good” is a hilarious book which talks about wants and needs. It’s part of the A Day Without Agriculture lesson.
Something Good – Learning about Wants and Needs!

5. Ag in the Classroom helps when you are really bored with doing the same things over and over.

Okay, I get there are just some things we all need to learn. And repetition is important. But every once in a while, it’s good to bust out of the routine and do something cool (and learn at the same time!) We all love fun, right? How about making plastic from corn? Guarantee you won’t get bored with this activity.

Make plastic from corn

6. You might get to see some really cool things grow . . . or decay!

Yes, there are plenty of opportunities to grow plants. But there are also times when you can watch something decay, such as pumpkins. Oooooh, yuck! But kids love it! And you can talk about what happens during the planting and decaying process. And more times than not, the decaying project wins because we all know kids love gross things.

7. You can be a scientist or an engineer or an inventor!

Who doesn’t daydream about being something larger and bigger than they imagine? Why not be a scientist and learn about hydroponics or be an engineer designing a farming process to improve or how about being a blacksmith for a day like John Deere (yes, John Deere is a real person) and invent something new. Ag in the Classroom allows all of these opportunities.

8. You also might be able to fly a drone or operate a robot. How cool is that?

I mean, honestly. who doesn’t think drones are cool! These are just a couple of the opportunities students have wit Ag in the Classroom lessons/activities. Check out Drones in High-Tech Farming.

9. And Ag in the Classroom have something for your entire K-12 school career!

And it’s not just for elementary students. With more than 400 lessons for kindergarten through 12th grade, you’ll never run out of activities and lessons. Check it out, MN Ag in the Classroom. The resources are FREE. And we don’t discriminate. We allow non-Minnesotans to access our curriculum. It’s part of being Minnesota nice. . .

10. And . . . you just may choose agriculture as your career.

And believe me, there are plenty of opportunities based on your interest. Agriculture is not just production ag. It’s engineers, scientists, accountants, marketers etc. Right now, there are two jobs available for every one graduate. You just can’t go wrong!!!

So this, ladies and gentlemen, is why Ag in the Classroom needs to be in every school.

2018 Farming: Looking Back to Look Forward

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I really debated whether to write a reflective 2018 blog post or not. On the farm, it wasn’t a year I wanted to remember. If you have been following me, you know our struggles. Weather, low yields, low commodity prices, hog health issues. Literally, the whole bucket was thrown at us this year. We have asked ourselves, “Why are we working so hard for so little?”

Then, this happened:

Life’s Accumulations

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