Harlan, Iowa – November 15, 2021 – Loess Hills Agriculture in the Classroom (LHAITC) was awarded $4,000 from the Monogram Loves Kids Foundation Grant to conduct programming with a focus on pork and pork products. 

Melanie Bruck, education program coordinator for LHAITC brought the lesson Pigs and Pork: Resources from Farm to Fork to the Shelby County Fair. Copies of the children’s book My Family’s Pig Farm were handed out to students and participants were able to identify the physical resources, human resources, and physical capital needed to produce pork and by products made from pigs. 

Fair participants learned how to properly mix nutritious feed rations for pigs. Participants counted and weighed snack items like blue M&M’s to represent water, toasted O’s cereal and corn nuts for carbohydrates, soy nuts for protein, white chocolate chips for fat, and candies and raisins for vitamins and minerals. The activity is one example of the math and science skills animal nutritionists, veterinarians, and swine farmers use to keep their animals growing and improving animal health through proper feeding.

The Monogram Loves Kids Foundation (MLKF) was created in 2010 as part of Monogram Foods’ commitment to give back to the communities in which it does business like Harlan, Iowa. Monogram Foods, its shareholders, team members, and vendors believe in sharing their resources and reinvesting in the communities where they live and work. The Monogram Loves Kids Foundation is committed to supporting organizations that focus on vital community needs and issues centered on children and their families.

“In Iowa, one out of every five jobs are related to agriculture. By introducing agricultural literacy education early, we are equipping students and giving them the skills they will need to succeed,” said Bruck. 

Lessons were not limited to the fair. Over 120 students and adults participated in lessons about pigs and pork products.

Bruck also visited area schools’ summer care programs teaching students about pigs and pig by-products. In addition, Bruck visited home school co-ops throughout the fall where students learned how farmers care for these animals, which are important to Iowa’s economy. 

By providing activities and lessons on pork, community members in the Harlan area were able to see the connection between the pork products they consume and how they were raised and processed. Participants understood the impact of local meat processors like Monogram have on communities. Students learned that it takes many people to raise livestock and that Iowa agriculture is essential if they want to continue to have bacon for breakfast, or lunch, or supper. 

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." An agriculturally literate person is "one who understands and can communicate the source and value of agriculture as it affects quality of life." AITC 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, AITC cultivates an understanding and appreciation of the food and fiber system that we rely on every day. 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.