WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – February 15, 2024 – The Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation (IALF) has awarded 175 grants to schools across Iowa to bolster the integration of agriculture into classroom instruction or after-school programs with an academic focus.

                The Agriculture in the Classroom (AITC) Teacher Supplement Grants are designed to help teachers initiate new projects and/or expand upon existing programs that promote agriculture literacy in students. Grants can be used to fund innovative lessons, activities, classroom resources, guest speakers, outreach programs, field trips and other projects. Teachers received up to $250 to fund their projects.

                Grant recipient, Christy Ayers of Corning Elementary in Corning, Iowa, whose students will use a hydroponics system to grow food and learn about agriculture said “I wouldn’t be able to sustain my agriculture projects without the support of IALF and the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation. Through the help of this project, students will learn that food doesn’t come from a grocery stores, it comes from being grown by farmers.”

Some of the innovative projects launching this spring include farm robotics, culinary and nutrition programs, crop and animal lifecycles, tree propagation, pollinators, ecosystems, renewable energy, aquaponics, farm-to-fork projects, dairy field trips, egg hatching, and agricultural history tours. Successful applicants will use these agricultural experiences to teach language arts, social studies and a variety of other concepts already taught in their classrooms.

Kelly Foss, IALF Executive Director, highlighted the quality and diversity of the applications received, emphasizing how much focus was on incorporating agriculture into science, social studies, math, language arts, nutrition, and career and technical education curriculum. “These grants allow teachers to bring agriculture into their classrooms and connect students to real world applications.”

                The grants are made possible through support from the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF). IFBF’s Community Resources Manager, Ronnette Vondrak, underscored the importance of agricultural literacy in deepening understanding of the value and impact of agriculture. “The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation is proud to provide financial assistance to support Iowa teachers in their classrooms. By supporting agriculture education, we are investing in the future of Iowa and the world.”

                At Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont Junior Senior High, a teacher is elevating technology in junior high and high school science classes with the FarmBot Project, where agriculture and robotics converge. The FarmBot, a robotic arm, facilitates gardening in the classroom through a connected computer program and a customizable arm that aids in raising vegetables in a mobile bed. This initiative will enable students to learn about agriculture, nutrition, soil science, biology, coding, and various other STEM subjects.

These projects are slated to be completed before the end of the school year, with final reports due by June 9, 2024. For more information, visit www.iowaagliteracy.org.  Below is a list of award recipients (in alphabetical order by city name): 


Betsi Ausdemore, Raccoon River Preschool, Adel

Tess Cochran, East Union High School, Afton

Laura Guhse, East Union Elementary, Afton

Marcus Patten, East Union Elementary, Afton

Julie Sievers, Newell-Fonda Schools, Albert City

Bradi Sievers, Albert City - Truesdale, Albert City

Rebekah Spragg, Albert City - Truesdale, Albert City

Denise DeBruin, Grant Elementary, Albia

Kristin Elerding, Alden Elementary, Alden

Sara Halbur, Centennial High School, Ankeny

Shona Weirich, AHSTW Primary School, Avoca

Debbie Powell, Bedford Community School, Bedford

Tabor Strong, Bedford Elementary School, Bedford

Angel Brecht, Longfellow Elementary, Belle Plaine

Stacey Hennings, Bennett Community School, Bennett

Sara Seberg, Noah's Ark Preschool, Blue Grass

Lea Kruse, Sacred Heart School, Boone

Doris Riesselman, Sacred Heart School, Boone

Janet Freese, Fairview Elementary, Carroll

Stephanie Lukavsky, Chariton Middle School, Chariton

Lisa Garden, TLC: The Learning Center, Charles City

Dusty Schmitt, Central Preschool, Charles City

Amanda Vardaman, Clarinda Community Schools, Clarinda

Madison Ashland, Clear Creek Elementary School, Clear Lake

Erin Bemis, Seeds of Faith, Clive

Tricia Jacobson, Seeds of Faith Early Learning Center, Clive

Christine Kennedy, Seeds of Faith Early Learning Center, Clive

Krista Lumbard, Seeds of Faith Early Learning Center, Clive

Janet Mack, Seeds of Faith Early Learning Center, Clive

Gail Marske, Seeds of Faith Early Learning Center, Clive

Christy Ayers, Corning Elementary, Corning

Crystal Boggs, Wayne Elementary, Corydon

Laurie Bancroft, Thomas Jefferson, Council Bluffs

Amber Brown, Lewis and Clark Elementary, Council Bluffs

Rob Hart, Franklin School, Council Bluffs

Brenda Irwin, Saint Albert Catholic, Council Bluffs

Danielle Philmon, College View Elementary, Council Bluffs

Rachel Shanks, Lewis and Clark Elementary, Council Bluffs

Kristen Vonnahme, Lewis and Clark Elementary, Council Bluffs

Lauren Wilcox, Lewis and Clark Elementary, Council Bluffs

Rachel Beran, Notre Dame Catholic, Cresco

Molly Petersen, Danbury Catholic, Danbury

Kim Lear-Finch, CV Hoover, Davenport

Erika Bruess, Carrie Lee Elementary, Decorah

Kirsten Burrett, Carrie Lee Elementary, Decorah

Ashley Darling, John Cline Elementary, Decorah

Jennifer DeLaRosa, Carrie Lee Elementary, Decorah

Annika Krieg, Carrie Lee Elementary, Decorah

Jackie Panos, Carrie Lee Elementary, Decorah

Xeuay Lothi-Baccam, Jackson Elementary School, Des Moines

Danielle Newton, Diagonal Community School, Diagonal

Sonya Love-Smith, Van Buren County School, Douds

Elizabeth Burke, Eleanor Roosevelt Middle School, Dubuque

Courtney Mootz, Thomas Jefferson Middle School, Dubuque

Melissa Sendt, Eleanor Roosevelt Middle School, Dubuque

Julie Voss, Resurrection Elementary, Dubuque

Linda Pollock, Dunkerton Elem./Middle Schools, Dunkerton

Matt Kennedy, Dyersville Elementary, Dyersville

Lynne Ternus, Dysart-Geneseo Elementary, Dysart

Susan Cenci, Eddyville Blakesburg Fremont HSA Program, Eddyville

Lisa Reinier, Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont Jr./Sr. High, Eddyville

Shellee Shafer, Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont Homeschool, Eddyville

Adrianna Allen, Edgewood-Colesburg Elementary, Edgewood

Linda Tegeler, Ed-Co Schools, Edgewood

Beth Jarding, Epworth Elementary, Epworth

Kristen Wagner, Epworth Elementary, Epworth

Neal VanErsvelde, East Marshall Middle School, Gilman

Jennifer Wrage, Gladbrook-Reinbeck Elementary School, Gladbrook

Janace Nester, Nodaway Valley Elementary, Greenfield

Amber Wetzel, Guthrie Center Elementary, Guthrie Center

Allison Bruck, Shelby County Catholic School, Harlan

Aly Jurgensmeier, Hinton School, Hinton

Beverly Ambrosy, La Salle Catholic School, Holy Cross

Alex McDougall, Humboldt High School, Humboldt

Joan Sohm, OABCIG Ida Grove Elementary, Ida Grove

Krista Oolman, Ireton Christian School, Ireton

Christina Carlton, Turkey Valley Schools, Jackson Junction

Sara Converse, Turkey Valley Schools, Jackson Junction

Shelby Hageman, Turkey Valley Schools, Jackson Junction

Sarah Brockmeyer, Jesup Community School, Jesup

Kathy Ploeger, Kingsley Pierson, Kingsley

Katie Bush, South Central Calhoun, Lake City

Tiffany Walbaum, South Central Calhoun (HSAP), Lake City

Jill Craighton, CAL Elementary, Latimer

Bethany Currier, CAL Schools, Latimer

Rosa Sondag, Central Decatur Community School, Leon

Leslie Putnam, Louisa-Muscatine Elementary, Letts

Katie Johnsen, Logan-Magnolia Elementary, Logan

Dean Behrens, North Cedar Elementary, Lowden

Jennie Jensen, North Cedar Elementary, Lowden

Pam Koloc, Lambert Elementary, Manchester

Lori Roberts, Lambert Elementary, Manchester

Angie Oberreuter, MVAO School, Mapleton

Sarah Brady, MMCRU High School, Marcus

Megan Letsche, MMCRU Marcus Elementary, Marcus

Angie Schnepf, MMCRU Marcus, Marcus

Samantha Schroeder, MMCRU High School, Marcus

Amanda Seuntjens, MMCRU Elementary, Marcus

Sally Hofmann, Marion Home School Assistance Program, Marion

Val Ehlers, Rogers Elementary, Marshalltown

Dawn Colsch, MFL MarMac Middle School, McGregor

Laura Schroeder, North Cedar Mechanicsville Elementary, Mechanicsville

Tejlor Strope, Missouri Valley High School, Missouri Valley

Angela Pape, MFLMarMac, Monona

Sarah Wille, MFL MarMac High School, Monona

Pam Parks, Woodbury Central, Moville

Tim Odell, Franklin Elementary School, Muscatine

Susie Fah, Tri-Center Elementary, Neola

Lisa Christiansen, Newell-Fonda Schools, Newell

Courtney Darrow, Newell-Fonda Schools, Newell

Abby Gruhn, Newell Fonda Elementary School, Newell

Susan Hess, Newell-Fonda School, Newell

Whitney McKeever, Newell-Fonda Schools, Newell

Kayla Wingert, Newell-Fonda Schools, Newell

Betty Steenblock, Orange City Head Start, Orange City

Connie Ryan, Lincoln Elementary, Osage

Brandi Boyd, Clarke Community High School, Osceola

Jamie Porter, HomeGrown Christian Learning Center, Osceola

Sara Bonnett, Oskaloosa Elementary School, Oskaloosa

Michelle Erbs, Oskaloosa Elementary, Oskaloosa

Shelli Eveland, Oskaloosa Elementary School, Oskaloosa

Katie Fox, Oskaloosa Elementary School, Oskaloosa

Elizabeth Good, Oskaloosa Elementary, Oskaloosa

Mary Hersom, Oskaloosa Elementary, Oskaloosa

Sydney Katko, Oskaloosa Elementary School, Oskaloosa

Amanda Lemke, Oskaloosa Elementary School, Oskaloosa

Dana Sereg, Oskaloosa Elementary School, Oskaloosa

Lucianna Swarthout, Oskaloosa Elementary School, Oskaloosa

Miranda Johnson, Ottumwa High School, Ottumwa

Gunner Mohs, Pekin Schools, Packwood

Wendy Visser, Lincoln Elementary, Pella

Thomas McMullin, Perry Elementary, Perry

Leah Sanders, Pleasantville High School, Pleasantville

Sarah Allison, Hubbard-Radcliffe Elementary, Radcliffe

Joy Corbin, Hubbard Radcliffe Elementary, Radcliffe

Shari Ambrose, Community Lutheran School, Readlyn

Brooke Doyle, Inman Elementary, Red Oak

Cheyenne Olson, MMCRU Middle School, Remsen

Kate Reuter, MMCRU Royals, Remsen

Mindy Ruhland, MMCRU Schools, Remsen

Jenna Helmers, Sibley- Ocheyedan Elementary, Sibley

Teresa Higgs, Sidney JH/HS, Sidney

Ida Black, Sacred Heart Catholic School, Spencer

Cammy Trierweiler, Fairview Park Elementary, Spencer

Gretchen Conway, St Teresa of Calcutta, Spillville

Evie Milbrandt, St. Teresa of Calcutta Catholic School, Spillville

Madison Steffes, Spirit Lake High School, Spirit Lake

Kelli Hemann, St. Ansgar Schools, St. Ansgar

Makayla Streeter, Acre Homeschool Cooperative, State Center

Molly Dolch, West Central Valley High School, Stuart

Abby Bowden, Fremont-Mills Community School District, Tabor

Michelle Gillespie, Fremont-Mills Elementary, Tabor

Tahra Bedwell, Interstate 35 Elementary, Truro

Melissa Marwedel, Webster Elementary School, Urbandale

Rhonda Osborn, Des Moines Christian School, Urbandale

Liz Sisler, Des Moines Christian Elementary School, Urbandale

Jan Garland, Walcott Elementary, Walcott

Lydia Davis, Washington High School, Washington

Melissa Haugo, Hugging Tree Nature Preschool, Waterloo

Stacey Snyder, Orange Elementary, Waterloo

Angela Webb, Hoover Middle School, Waterloo

Clare Farrell, Grant Ragan Elementary, Waukee

Cindy Snell, Waukee APEX, Waukee

Glenda Seward, Mid-Prairie High School, Wellman

Benjamin Heller, Scattergood Friends School, West Branch

Mark Quee, Scattergood Friends School, West Branch

Emily Loeffelholz, Maple Grove Elementary, West Des Moines

Jennifer Bakke, Whiting Elementary, Whiting

Anne Weber, Whiting CSD, Whiting

Olivia Doehrmann, KIND Care, Williamsburg

Trevor Kongable, Winfield-Mt. Union Community School, Winfield

Karsyn Kinney, Woodbine School, Woodbine

Megan Kuhlmann, Woodbine Community School, Woodbine

Danielle Peckenpaugh, Woodbine Community School, Woodbine

Diane Gnade, Midland Elementary, Wyoming


About the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation

Iowa is the leading producer of agricultural products that are essential to feed a growing world population, estimated to reach more than nine billion by 2050. The Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation (IALF) believes it is important for all Iowans to understand the essential role agriculture has in their lives. Through Agriculture in the Classroom efforts, IALF engages with teachers and students throughout Iowa. IALF is supported by the Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, Iowa Pork Producers Association, Iowa Soybean Association, GROWMARK, Iowa Beef Industry Council, Iowa Turkey Federation, Corteva Agriscience, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Nutrien, and others in support of strengthening agriculture literacy among pre-kindergarten through 12th grade teachers and their students. For more information visit IALF online at www.IowaAgLiteracy.org, on Facebook, Instagram, and X (formerly known as Twitter).