SC Farm Bureau Teaches Agriculture in the Classroom - to Teachers
Anderson, SC – Forty-nine educators from across the state recently learned how to incorporate agricultural lessons into their classrooms. The South Carolina Farm Bureau Federation (SCFB) hosted its annual Ag in the Classroom Summer Teacher Institute June 6-10 in Anderson, SC, where teachers of grades pre-K through 8 in public and private schools learned how to teach the importance of family farmers and domestically produced food, fiber, forestry products, and fuel to their students.
“It is so important that students learn where their food and resources come from,” Vonne Knight, SCFB Director of Ag Literacy said. “Providing teachers with not only the information and lesson plans they need, but also the confidence to teach agriculture makes it easy for them to do just that.”
In addition to instruction about their learning and teaching styles, Institute participants also heard from agriculture and education experts from Clemson University’s College Relations/Ag Careers Department, Department of Animal and Veterinary Science, the SC Ag Statistics Department, Clemson’s apiculture specialist, and the SC Department of Agriculture. Participants also experienced two days of farm tours in the upstate, including Major Farm, Berry Acres, Greenbrier Farms, Kings Sunset Nursery, Setzler Farms, and Satterwhite Farm.
“The Ag in the Classroom program is so beneficial because we can educate teachers about the importance of agriculture, and those teachers are then going to take that back to their own classrooms of sometimes thirty students. The overall outreach of the program is unmatched,” said SCFB President Harry Ott.
“I never cease to be amazed at the positive agricultural impact this course makes in the lives of teachers from across the state during this one week,” said Knight. “Teachers leave with a greater understanding of and appreciation for agriculture. I have never been part of a more rewarding higher education experience.”
Ag in the Classroom Institute participants received lesson plans aligned to the state curriculum standards to use in their own classroom this fall. They also left with resources they can use to teach students about agriculture and the benefits farmers add to the economy, the environment and the community.
Participants received three hours of graduate credit for recertification from Winthrop University, courtesy of SCFB’s Ag in the Classroom Fund. Along with a modest registration fee, which many County Farm Bureau chapters reimburse to participants, sponsorships raised through the SCFB’s Ag in the Classroom Fund cover the cost of tuition, room and board, resource speakers and tours, and materials for the week-long Institute.
“If agriculture is to maintain its status as South Carolina’s largest business sector – providing more than 212,000 jobs and more than a $42 billion impact on South Carolina’s economy – we’ve got to help people understand the link between their food and fiber and the farm,” said Ott. “Farm Bureau’s Ag in the Classroom program is a tool to help us accomplish that goal through our state’s teachers, and in turn to our state’s children.”
The 2016 SCFB Ag in the Classroom Summer Teacher Institute was funded through generous support from the SC Ag in the Classroom Fund, SC Farm Bureau Federation, SC Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co., the SC Beef Board, the SC Soybean Board, the SC Peanut Board, SC Advocates for Agriculture, Newberry Electric Cooperative, AgSouth Farm Credit, Lynches River Electric Cooperative, and Edisto Electric Cooperative.
SCFB’s Ag in the Classroom program also offers year-round no-cost in-service workshops to South Carolina pre-kindergarten through middle school teachers, schools, and school districts. To make a tax deductible contribution to the 501(c)(3) Ag in the Classroom program, for more information, or to schedule an in-service workshop, contact SCFB Ag Literacy Program Director Vonne Knight at 803-936-4409 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The SC Farm Bureau Federation is a non-profit membership organization formed to promote and preserve the work of family farmers and rural lifestyles across the state. The organization serves nearly 100,000 member families in 47 chapters and has been around since 1944. Persons interested in supporting agricultural education are encouraged to contact their county Farm Bureau office or the South Carolina Farm Bureau Federation at www.scfb.org for additional information.