By John Schlageck, Kansas Farm Bureau
Inside the Kansas State University classroom all eyes were riveted on the guest speakers. By the end of the two, one-hour training sessions the future teachers were well equipped to tell the story of the state’s number one industry.
Kansas Farm Bureau and Kansas Foundation for Ag in the Classroom partnered to provide agricultural resources to future Kansas teachers studying in the College of Education.
Serita Blankenship, KFB agriculture education and Cathy Musick, Kansas Foundation for Ag in the Classroom conducted workshops about farming and ranching and explained the importance of agriculture in people’s lives.
“If you eat, wear clothes or drive a vehicle, you are connected with the number one industry in the state of Kansas – agriculture,” Musick says.
The Kansas State University session grew out of a long-standing partnership between the two ag organizations.
After student teachers attend these workshops, they’ll be confident teaching agriculture in the classroom, Blankenship says.
“We shared resources, contact information and we’ll be there for them when they begin teaching,” she adds.
One of the sources the team shared was the website www.myamericanfarm.org. My American Farm is a place eager, young learners can explore and discover information about food, fiber and energy. The site also includes free games and other educational resources.
In addition to the educational materials on myamericanfarm.org, the Kansas State University students learned about the latest agricultural facts and statistics including:
- Less than 2 percent of the U.S. population is made up of farmers and ranchers. They represent a diverse vocation growing conventional, biotech and organic crops.
- One U.S. farm feeds 168 people
- Nearly 100,000 of the 3.2 million U.S. farm operators are Spanish, Hispanic and Latinos
- African American farmers total nearly 45,000
- American Indian approximately 58,500
- Women nearly 970,000
- 97 percent of U.S. farms are owned by families
- 3 percent are owned by non-family corporations
Every year, farmers produce more food with fewer inputs like labor, seeds, feed and fertilizer.
The ag duo also discussed potential careers in agriculture and shared other agricultural games designed for elementary students.
The student teachers’ obvious curiosity and excitement about the classroom resources bode well for the future of agriculture education.
John Schlageck is a leading commentator on agriculture and rural Kansas. Born and raised on a diversified farm in northwestern Kansas, his writing reflects a lifetime of experience, knowledge and passion.