Wisconsin middle and high school students are learning more about their state’s farming and produce industries through a new curriculum developed by the state’s Ag in the Classroom program.
The “Telling Our Agricultural Story” curriculum includes print and online materials that highlight information about local farms and their production methods, says Darlene Arneson, the Ag in the Classroom coordinator.
Aligned to the Common Core and other state standards, “Telling Our Agricultural Story” includes lesson plans, bookmarks, brochures and a 50-page booklet that can be used as a textbook for students. The booklet contains facts, graphics and farmers’ stories provided by state industry organizations.
For example, the Wisconsin Dairy Council added information about the production of organic and inorganic milk, how dairy farmers are reducing their carbon footprints, and a comparison of manual and robotic milking methods.
Other state industries featured are beef, pork and potatoes.
“Schools have been asking us to develop materials to better inform their students about the industry, as well as to help spread career awareness.” Arneson says. “With 10 percent of the state workforce involved in this industry, agriculture is vital to Wisconsin’s economy.”
The curriculum can be used in social studies and science classes, as well as consumer education and culinary classes, Arneson says. “Telling Our Agricultural Story” also explains newer concepts in food, such as “farm-to-table” restaurants and buying locally. It examines what effects these trends are having on the economy and nutrition.
Supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, The National Ag in the Classroom Organization has programs in all 50 states and regularly works with students in more than 60 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties, Arneson says.