Spring Means Farm Visits

Beth Schaefer is just over a month into her new position as the Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Agriculture in the Classroom coordinator. She came in during Ag in the Classroom’s busiest time of year — spring.

It’s these last few months of school that many 4th graders will hop on the bus for what will likely be their first time interacting with a farmer and seeing where their food, fuel and fiber come from. Schaefer says spring is incredibly busy for volunteers talking about agriculture in classrooms and farmers opening their barn gates for students.

Fourth grade is the sweet spot for Ag in the Classroom because that’s the age group learning about Wisconsin history, heritage and the economy. Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation estimates 12,000-14,000 students visit a farm in a year through Ag in the Classroom.

Schaefer says they are still offering virtual tours (learned during the pandemic) for schools that cannot get to a farm — either because of distance or cost of buses. She notes the virtual offering was well-received over the past few years. ‘Zoom’ tours are also be a year-round tool for teachers.

In addition to helping coordinate farm visits, Schaefer continues to keep up with an arsenal of ag curricula for teachers and is planning programs for summer school. ‘The Business of Agriculture’ is a book that’s supported by almost every commodity in Wisconsin to help teachers engage with students and the value of agriculture. Learn more: https://www.wisagclassroom.org/

Requests are coming in for Ag in the Classroom’s involvement in summer school programs. Schaefer is currently planning Ag in the Classroom’s summer schedule.