Courtesy of the Farm & Ranch Guide
A complaint often heard from farmers, ranchers and others in the agricultural industry is the lack of understanding the general public has about this crucial industry. But that may begin to change thanks to a program being launched by the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) – the “Discovering Farmland” curriculum.
To give a broad-based approach to the lesson plans being developed, USFRA has partnered with Discovery Education, the leading provider of digital content and professional development for K-12 classrooms. This partnership has resulted in lessons that are flexible and easy to integrate for teachers. Discovery Education services are available to 4.5 million educators, over 50 million students and more than half of the U.S. classrooms. More than 50 countries have access to this service.
This new ag curriculum uses the award-winning documentary “Farmland,” a film by James Moll, as a foundation. It gives teachers and students a first-hand glimpse into agriculture through the eyes of six young farmers and ranchers. Companion activities are then added such as 360-degree farm animal videos, and a digital exploration of food labels, to name just a couple.
“New technologies continually improve animal welfare and environmental sustainability, and we’re excited to share our accomplishments in agriculture with others,” said Brad Greenway, a South Dakota diversified crop and livestock farmer and USFRA chairman. “The Discovering Farmland curriculum sparks conversations with students about innovations enhancing our food supply, and these unique activities keep them intrigued.”
Here are some of the classroom activities already developed:
· Several 360-degree videos on things such as animal safety, health, comfort and environmental sustainability.
· Interactive lesson plans and activities with 12 different videos supporting PowerPoint-based lessons plans and activities covering such topics as how to use trash to help my crop grow, breaking down stereotypes and sustainability practices in modern farming.
· Digital exploration allowing investigation of food product labels by choosing a specific product from virtual grocery store shelves that include an educational guide and “Get to Know GMOs” activity.
We applaud the USFRA for this educational undertaking. This gives the opportunity to reach millions of students just here in the United States with information on how food production is connected to science, economics, technology and sustainability. And it also shows how farming and ranching has evolved over the last several decades.
But just as importantly is the fact that this Discovering Farmland curriculum will help inform our next generation of consumers.
Farmers and ranchers, as well as others in the ag industry, can learn more about Discovery Education’s ag curriculum by visiting www.discoveryeducation.com.
Hopefully, this groundbreaking program will spark the creation of other educational programs relating to agriculture – a subject every consumer needs to know more about!