Manhattan, KS – Twenty-one Kansas educators learned how to use agricultural concepts to teach reading, writing, math, science, social studies and more at the National Agriculture in the Classroom Organization’s (NAITCO) National Conference called ‘AgVenture in the Natural State’ held June 19-21 at the Little Rock Marriott.
Kansas Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom sponsors a state “Teacher of the Year” who receives an all-expense paid trip to the conference. This year’s recipient, Nancy Smith, is a 1st grade teacher at Bentwood Elementary School in Olathe, KS. In addition to being recognized on stage with the other state winners, Nancy presented at the conference, “Fabulous Farms: Bringing Agriculture Into the Primary Classroom.” Kansas Farm Bureau sponsored the conference registration fee for three regional Teacher of the Year Winners, Amber Kriley, Melinda Littrell, Karisa Cowan.
CHS Foundation Teacher Scholarship recipients from Kansas were Kacie Lockyear – Winfield Unified School District, Patricia Wolfe – Lakemary Center, and Nancy Smith – Bentwood Elementary.
NAITCO and the Arkansas Farm Bureau’s Agriculture in the Classroom program held three days of workshops showing kindergarten through 12th grade teachers how to use agriculture to teach core subjects. The conference was funded, in part, through a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute for Food & Agriculture (USDA/NIFA).
Conference participants had the opportunity to travel to workshops of nearby agribusinesses and research facilities to learn about beef, poultry and rice production, worldwide hunger at Heifer International, and other agricultural issues at these and other stops. They heard from keynote speakers such as Temple Grandin, world renowned animal behaviorist and autism spokesperson, and Dr. Marty Matlock, executive director of the University of Arkansas Resiliency Center and Professor of Ecological Engineering in the Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department.
NAITCO and Nutrien, Ltd. announced new developments with the online games called Journey 2050’ and ‘Farmers 2050, which allow players to become virtual farmers who make day-to-day decisions about what to plant, how to care for it and how to sustainably grow food.
A big ‘thank you’ goes to national conference sponsors USDA/NIFA, CHS Foundation Inc., Nutrien Ltd., American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture, American Egg Board, Ardent Mills, Corteva Agriscience, Farm Credit, Monsanto, Ford Motor Co., Iowa Farm Bureau, Protect the Harvest, Riceland Foods Foundation, Tyson Foods, among others. NAITCO is a non-profit organization representing state Agriculture in the Classroom programs in 50 states and the District of Columbia. Its mission is to educate K-12 teachers and students about the importance of agriculture by providing them with materials, awards programs and a national conference that demonstrate how agriculture can be used to effectively teach core subject areas.