Field trips introduce students to farms and ranches and give a firsthand look at what farm life is really like. They allow students to see, smell, hear, touch, and taste the agriculture, food, and natural resources that allow for our survival.
Why Host a Field Trip?
The average American is now at least three generations removed from the farm. Helping the next generation understand what farmers do and why they do it is an important job. We can influence perceptions of students by having them visit farms and ranches first hand, where they can see Nebraskan’s taking care of their land and animals.
“The farm visit goes beyond communication through letters and pictures… Student senses are engaged in the learning process of what we do on our farms. We believe the field trips build positive experiences the students will take into adulthood about how food is raised and the friendship they have with a farm family.”
- Steve & Joan Ruskamp, Farmers near Dodge, NE
100% of teachers who participate in our field trip program report that their students’ perception of agriculture was positively changed because of a field trip to a farm or ranch.
The Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation supports Field Trip Grants for transportation costs to working farms and ranches for students in grades Kindergarten – Eighth Grade. Grants are available for schools to apply for in January and August.
Tips & Tricks to Host a Farm/Ranch Field Trip
Inviting students to your farm doesn’t have to be a daunting concept. Take advice straight from volunteers who have done this before! Read more about Steve & Joan Ruskamp’ s success hosting a field trip to their family’s feedlot.
- Plan Ahead
Plan with the weather in mind. Can activities be held in a shop if needed?
- Learning Stations
Have several learning stations to break larger groups down. Ask for help from neighbors, and 4-H & FFA members to help lead sections. Sections can feature one stop at machinery and another with animals.
- Engage their Senses
Kids want to touch animals! Arrange an immersion time with bunnies, calves, or goats that kids can get close to and touch.
- Share a Meal
Sharing a meal together brings the story of food full circle. We grilled hamburgers because they are easy to prepare. With a feedlot, we can share the nutritional value of what the students are eating.
- Connect to their Studies
Plan examples of how math and science are used on your farm. We have ingredients used in a ration and talk about percentages, weights, and pounds per head that are fed. We talk about biology with the animal care and with how the land utilizes manure and holding pond water. Just remember to explain each word to students!
- Stay Authentic
Make sure your farm story is shared. How is your farm/ranch unique?
- Dig into Careers
Invite a veterinarian, nutritionist, nutrient manager, or another agricultural professional to visit over lunch about careers in agriculture. Anyone can be involved in agriculture even if they don’t live on a farm.
- Friendship is Important
Connect on an emotional level. Kids remember the smiles and outreach of a friendship.
Volunteer to Host a Farm/Ranch Field Trip
If your farm/ranch is in Nebraska and is interested in connecting with a classroom to host a field trip, please complete the form. You will be contacted by Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation if a school nearby is looking to make a connection and they are a match for your requirements.