MSUE and Farm Bureau partner to educate students about agriculture

To celebrate National Ag Week, March 13–19, and March Is Reading Month, Gratiot County Farm Bureau members and Michigan State University Extension staff members combined their talents to offer Ag in the Classroom lessons to elementary and middle school students in Gratiot County.

Three hundred students from four schools participated in activities based on the Ag in the Classroom curriculum from Michigan Farm Bureau that featured Michigan agriculture products. The students learned how farmers care for their animals, land and the environment. The activities, which match up with the state grade level content expectations for English, social studies, math and science, were a useful way to begin educating students about the value of agriculture to Michigan’s economy.

 Local farmers, Extension educators and Farm Bureau members read books to the children about agriculture and shared personal stories. 

Dan Rossman, MSUE Gratiot County senior Extension educator, reads to children.

Dan Rossman, MSUE Gratiot County senior Extension educator, reads to children during National Ag Week at Hillcrest Elementary School in Alma.

 Students created a farm charm with each bead on this handmade bracelet representing one item farmers care about.

 According to Katie McCune-Eisenberger, 4-H Youth Development Extension educator, MSUE is combining March is Reading Month, National Ag Week and Nutrition Month to promote a hands-on, interactive educational experience involving food, farmers and youth. Each elementary class is participating in a three-to-seven week in-class series of nutrition education and physical fitness through Jump Into Foods and Fitness and Pyramids Between the Pages.

 “It’s important when we’re talking about food, we also talk about who grows and cares for the food. This collaborative effort helps students put a face to their food,” says Katie. “One farmer who read to the children grows sugar beets in the field right next to the class’s window. The class learned how the sugar on their cereal is grown right outside their window! The class now plans to intentionally observe what is happening this spring when the farmer is planting. Seven of the classes will then participate in the county’s Project Rural Education Day this fall to continue the educational process.”

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