LINCOLN, NEB. – Nebraska educators and Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation education specialists traveled to Orlando, Fla. June 27 through 30 for the annual National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference to explore how agriculture can be integrated into daily classroom curriculum.
The four-day conference pushed participants from across the country to look beyond the beaches and explore Florida agriculture as they learned new ways to engage students of all ages with agriculture in the classroom. The conference included keynote speakers, workshops, and tours of agricultural operations.
Ann Sobota, a kindergarten teacher at Schuyler Elementary and Nebraska Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year, attended the conference learning new ways to connect agriculture to every subject.
“Attending the National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference was one of the best conferences I have ever attended. I had the opportunity to see a Brahman cattle ranch and attend multiple workshops. These workshops provided me with endless resources and activities that are all tied to agriculture for every subject.,” said Sobota.
Conference goers were able to connect with educators from across the country to hear how they best blend agriculture into learning. Darian Carney, a Lancaster County educator found these experiences valuable.
“The National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference was nothing short of spectacular! From meeting many new people, visiting a cattle ranch, attending so many sessions and getting all the amazing resources, this experience will allow me to share more knowledge about agriculture outside of what happens in Nebraska,” said Carney. “I have brought many more ideas about incorporating agriculture into the classroom back with me, beyond just making word problems about farmers. I have plans to collaborate with other teachers to also bring agriculture into their classrooms.”
Educators come in many forms. While Foundation education specialists do not have a classroom of their own, they do have the ability to teach many kids about the importance of agriculture each day by traveling around the state. Education specialists discovered new curriculum and activities while at the conference. Lincoln education specialist, Brooke Tempel, is excited to bring new content for classroom programming this fall.
“I appreciate the opportunity to attend this conference! The numerous workshops, tours, and educational speakers provide an abundance of resources and new ideas that our educators can implement into Nebraska’s Agriculture in the Classroom programs,” said Tempel. “Agriculture in the Classroom takes a hands-on approach to learning which makes it fun and engaging for students to learn more about the vital importance of agriculture here in Nebraska!”
With the support of Lancaster County Farm Bureau, Sobota and Carney attended the conference cost-free. These investments continue to expand the mission of teaching every student in Nebraska about agriculture.
The Nebraska Agriculture in the Classroom program is a statewide program that helps support pre-K through 12th grade students and teachers develop an awareness and understanding of agriculture. Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation manages this program. It is their flagship program.
“Incorporating agriculture into everyday curriculum is an exciting way to expose kids to the important world of agriculture,” said Megahn Schafer, executive director. “It is great to see kids and teachers alike be able to learn core competencies and agriculture together. One truly can support the other.”
The National Agriculture in the Classroom annual conference is hosted each summer in a new location so educators can experience the vast world of agriculture across the nation. Participants also get to experience the food, geography, and culture of different regions of the United States. The 2024 conference will be held in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The mission of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation is to engage youth, educators, and the general public to promote an understanding of the vital importance of agriculture in the lives of all Nebraskans. The Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. For more information about the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation, visit www.nefbfoundation.org.