Harlan, Iowa, – March 1, 2021 – Members of the Crawford Co. Farm Bureau approved a $2,500 donation to Loess Hills Agriculture in the Classroom (LHAITC) to support in-classroom programming, educational support, and teacher professional development. Crawford Co. Farm Bureau has supported LHAITC since 2018.

Crawford Co. Farm Bureau focuses on helping farm families prosper and helping students learn about where their food comes from and how it is raised on the farm. Agricultural literacy programs align to their mission of creating a vibrant future for agriculture, farm families, and their communities. Crawford Co. schools that LHAITC program works with include the Ar-We-Va CSD, Boyer Valley CSD, Charter Oak-Ute CSD, Denison CSD, and the Schleswig CSD.

“Fewer kids are coming from the farm or have a farming background. It is important that all kids know about agriculture,” said Jeremy Stangl, president of the Crawford Co. Farm Bureau. “Programs offered by LHAITC are closing the gap between what kids know about where their food comes from and what actually happens on the farm.”

Programs from LHAITC are not only helping students but the teachers in the classroom as well. As teachers become more comfortable learning about agriculture themselves, they are more readily able to lead their class in continuing to learn about agriculture.

One way that LHAITC has worked with students in Crawford Co. is through an agriculturally themed Read Across Iowa event. LHAITC education program coordinator, Melanie Bruck, reached out to teachers offering a farmer to read aloud to students. Students would have the opportunity to meet a real farmer and ask questions about what farm life is like. Theresa Huntley, second grade teacher, helped to coordinate two readings of the book, Harvesting Friends, a bilingual picture book that taught the children coming together as a community enabled them to harvest more than just vegetables.

“Word about these programs gets around,” said Stangl. “People were asking me even before the event what I was coming to school for. The growing interest in teaching kids about agriculture is one of the reasons Farm Bureau will continue to increase support of LHATIC.”

As part of this past year’s programming, LHAITC has conducted 177 programs which had an impact on 3,423 students, 188 of those from school districts in Crawford Co. Virtual programs were also conducted and reached nearly 10,000 viewers. Agriculture in the Classroom strives to increase agricultural literacy through Pre-K-12 education. An agriculturally literate person is defined as one who understands and can communicate the source and value of agriculture as it affects quality of life. LHAITC programs seek to improve student achievement by applying authentic, agricultural-based content as the context to teach core curriculum concepts in science, social studies, language arts and nutrition. By embedding agriculture into curriculum, LHAITC cultivates an understanding and appreciation of the food and fiber system that we rely on every day.

For more information, please visit www.IowaAgLiteracy.org.

About Loess Hills Agriculture in the Classroom

Loess Hills Agriculture in the Classroom (LHAITC) is a regional effort of the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation (IALF). The inception of LHAITC was led by Carroll Co. Farm Bureau, Crawford Co. Farm Bureau, Harrison Co. Farm Bureau, Shelby Co. Farm Bureau, and West Pottawattamie Co. Farm Bureau and serves school districts in those counties. The mission of Agriculture in the Classroom is to "increase agricultural literacy through PK-12 education". AITC is unique within the agricultural education community as the lead organization to serve the full spectrum of PK-12 formal education.  For more information visit IALF online at www.IowaAgLiteracy.org, on Facebook, and Twitter.