Ag in the Classroom Educates the Next Generation

Mar 18, 2024

Sara Clausen
Director of Communications

AGRICULTURE IS NOT JUST A PART OF OUR STATE— Iowa IS agriculture! As producers who are also member-owners of Key Cooperative, it’s hard for us to imagine that the level of ag knowledge has decreased. But fewer kids are being born and raised on row crop or livestock farms today, and the number of jobs supported by the ag industry is also much smaller than in the past.

For this reason, it’s absolutely critical to build awareness and educate the youth in our schools about the ag industry. They must carry the torch for the future of our state, country and, quite honestly, mankind. Too much of a heavy lift? Not if we rely on resources from today’s leaders in agriculture!

Agriculture in the Classroom (AITC) may be just the answer. Administered by the Iowa Ag Literacy Foundation (and an affiliate member of the National Agriculture in the Classroom organization), the mission of AITC is to help students in grades K-12 acquire the knowledge they need to become agriculturally literate. The program’s objective is to encourage educators to teach about our food and fiber system and the role of agriculture in our economy and society.

As Outreach Coordinator for the Jasper County Farm Bureau Federation, Trish Hafkey is very familiar with agriculture. She has turned her lifelong passion into a profession of leading our next generation, in part through AITC. “I serve as an active presence and resource for Jasper County Ag in the Classroom, both in-person and online,” said Trish. “I have coordinated in-person field trips for hundreds of students, organized and led many hands-on activities in classes and facilitated virtual field trips connecting students with interesting people and places throughout the country.”

Trish and other county Farm Bureau coordinators offer lessons that align with Common Core standards for maximum educational benefit, using curriculum generated by National Agriculture in the Classroom and the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation. The curriculum weaves in creative lessons, hands-on projects and programs that integrate technology so students can learn where our food comes from, why conservation is important and how technology impacts agriculture in our state.  

“It’s important to reduce the barriers that educators have in using agriculture as the vehicle to teach,” said Trish. “Through the support of Jasper County Farm Bureau and the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation, we can offer free resources to educators, homeschool families and educational co-ops, and we can also be a resource for community organizations.”

The efforts of AITC align perfectly with celebrating National Ag Day on March 19. As member-owners and customers of our cooperative, the most effective role you can play in our industry is to spread the word about ag literacy. Mention the resources discussed here with educators in your school districts or contact your county Farm Bureau!  

To get in touch with Trish Hafkey, call 641-792-6253 (extension 105) or email 
Sources: /  

Through the Agriculture in the Classroom program, K-12 students learn about our food and fiber system and the role ag plays in our economy and society. 

Schools that participate in Agriculture in the Classroom have opportunities to send students on field trips where they learn firsthand about things like raising livestock.

National Ag Day is March 19. As member-owners and customers of our cooperative, the most effective role you can play in our industry is to spread the word about ag literacy!


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