Target Grade Level / Age Range:

3 rd Grade


One, 45-minute class period       

Virtual Learning:

Use this document to convert the lesson into a virtual learning module for your students. Use the steps outlined to create the different elements of a Google Classroom or other online learning platform. You can also send the steps directly to students in a PDF, present them in a virtual meeting, or plug them into any other virtual learning module system.


Students will identify the human resources needed to produce, process, transport and market dairy products and realize there are many different types of jobs in agriculture. 


Essential Files (maps, charts, pictures, or documents)


  • G oods: Tangible things that are produced, bought or sold, and then consumed.
  • Services: Activities provided by people or businesses.
  • Producer: A person who provides services or creates, grows, or manufactures goods that people buy.
  • Consumer: A person who purchases the goods and services offered by a producer.
  • Human resources: People who make up the workforce of a business or industry.
  • Natural resources: Resources created by nature. Natural resources include soil, water, air, and minerals. Plants and animals are often considered natural resources too. 
  • Physical capital: Manmade things used by businesses including buildings, machinery, computers, office supplies, etc. 
  • Livestock: Domesticated animals raised on a farm or other agricultural setting to produce goods such as food and fiber.
  • Crops: Plants that are grown and harvested to produce goods such as food and fiber.
  • Food supply chain: The sequence of processes involved in the production and distribution of goods.
  • Production: The step in the food supply chain that involves growing plants and raising animals to be used to make goods.
  • Processing: The step in the food supply chain that involves cleaning, modifying. In agriculture, the alteration or modification, for the purpose of storage, transport, or sale, of an agricultural product.
  • Distribution: The step in the food supply chain that involves selling, marketing, and transporting goods to stores, other businesses, and consumers. 
  • Career: An occupation undertaken for a significant period of a person's life and with opportunities for progress; generally, a profession requiring special training. For descriptions of the agriculture careers in this lesson, visit

Background – Agricultural Connections

There are over 300 different careers in agriculture, and most are off-the-farm jobs. Animal nutritionists and veterinarians help keep livestock healthy. Agronomists work with farmers to scout for pests, test soil, and make crop management decisions. Truck drivers transport agriculture products to be processed. Engineers design farm and food processing equipment. Food scientists develop recipes and food processing techniques. Food inspectors ensure that our food is safe and of consistent quality. The agriculture industry provides jobs that fuel the local, state, national and global economy.

Interest Approach or Motivator

Ask students what resources are needed to produce milk? Write their responses on the board. Remind the students that there are three types of resources needed to produce goods and services— natural resources, human resources, and physical capital. Divide their list into these three categories. Which list is the longest? Which list is the shortest?  

Tell the students that they are going to read a story about a dairy farm. As they read, ask them to think about all of the people needed to produce milk and cheese.


  1. Have students read or listen to the My Family’s Dairy Farm book. Allow students to view the photos and make observations.
  2. Ask students what people (human resources) were mentioned in the story or shown in the pictures. Answers include:
    1. Lucas’ family/farmers
    2. animal nutritionist
    3. milker
    4. milk hauler/truck driver
    5. cheese processor employees
  3. Now ask students to list any jobs that were not directly mentioned in the book, but that would be needed to keep the cows healthy, provide products that Lucas’ family needs, or process the milk into cheese. Add these to the list started earlier.
    1. Show the book on the projector and refer to specific pages in the story to spark ideas.    
  4. Next, explain that the process of making and distributing food and other goods can be divided into three steps or categories: production, processing, and distribution.  Review the basics of what happens in each step using the information and resources outlined below. 
    1. Production includes everything that happens on the farm, as well as people the farmer works with to raise healthy cows and run the business.   
      1. Refer back to the book discuss everything involved with and needed to raise dairy cows and produce milk.
    2. Processing includes making the milk into cheese and packaging it for distribution.   
    3. Distribution includes the transportation of cheese, marketing, and sales.
  5. Watch one of the videos below to learn more about the process of turning milk into cheese. Ask students to pay close attention to the equipment and people needed to make, market, and distribute cheese.
    1. How Cheese is Made – Highlights Kids
    2. How A 100-Year-Old Vermont Creamery Makes Cheddar Cheese
  6. Instruct the students to sit in a circle. Shuffle the Career Cards and distribute one to each student. Tell the class that they are going to do a read-around to learn about all of the people needed to produce milk and turn it into cheese. Starting with the student holding the Dairy Farmer card, have students read their job description. As others read, they should listen for their job to be mentioned. 
    1. After the read-around, ask the students what parts of the story involved production, processing, and distribution.
  7. Next, give each pair of students a Job List and a Graphic Organizer. Their next job is to divide the job list into the three categories listed. Do a few as a whole group before instructing the students to work with their partner to divide the rest of the list.
  8. Explain to the students that the careers listed require various levels of education and experience. Some examples of education include a 2-year trade/associate-degree program, a four-year college degree, and/or a mater’s or doctorate degree in a specific field. Examples of experience include obtaining an internship during college, gaining entry level work before moving up to a management position, and working with a mentor to learn about a specific area you would like to gain more experience in. Obtaining a degree or other career training costs money. Gaining experience can require you to move to a different town or state. Spending money and moving are considered risks, but they are also investments that can result in higher earnings and more job opportunities in the future.
  9. Using information on the career cards from the read-aloud, ask students to write a paragraph about their job and the education and experience needed to obtain it.  Their paragraph should include:
    1. The name of the job
    2. Description of the job
    3. Education needed
    4. Experience needed
    5. Approximate salary
    6. A sentence describing why or why not they would like to have that career

Did you know? (Ag facts)

  • In the U.S., the dairy industry directly employs nearly one million individuals and indirectly supports almost two million additional jobs.
  • Dairy products contribute 3% of the U.S. gross domestic product.
  • The dairy industry provided 48,728 jobs (direct and indirect) in Iowa in 2018.
  • Dairy totaled 11.5 billion in economic impact (direct and indirect) in Iowa in 2018.

Extension Activities

Suggested Companion Resources (books and websites)



Cindy Hall          

Organization Affiliation

Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation     

Agriculture Literacy Outcomes

  • T1.3-5.e. Recognize the natural resources used in agricultural practices to produce food, feed, clothing, landscaping plants, and fuel (e.g. soil, water, air, plants, animals and minerals),
  • T3.3-5.f. Identify careers in food, nutrition, and health.
  • T5.3-5.e. Explain the value of agriculture and how it is important in daily life.

Iowa Core Standards

Social Studies

  • SS.3.13. Identify how people use natural resources, human resources, and physical capital to produce goods and services.
  • SS. 3.16. Describe how people take risks to improve their family income through education, career changes, and moving to new places.