Did you know that only 4% of students take agriculture science? It is the primary goal of Nourish the Future (NTF)—a national education initiative developed by science teachers for science teachers—to have ag science taught in every biology classroom across America. During 2022’s Commodity Classic in New Orleans, NTF came out swinging with a heavy-hitting agenda to help meet that goal. Not only did the STEM-based initiative lead a dynamic three-day Teacher Leader Community (TLC) conference where they introduced ag-based science curriculum and peer-networking, but additionally, participants stepped downstairs to the trade show floor and interacted with growers from around the country.
On the first day of the trade show, NTF knocked it out of the park with an expert panel discussion that was moderated by Dale Minyo, general manager for Ag New Communications and broadcaster for Ohio Ag Net. The discussion centered around the importance and impact of NTF’s curriculum and outreach on both teachers and their students. The batting list of panelists included:
- Dana Allen-Tully, vice-chair of NCGA Substantiable Ag Research Action Team (SARAT)
- Koleson McCoy, former National FFA president and student at the Ohio State University
- Christine Girtain, a teacher at Toms River High School South and North
- Bernadette Harwood, grower and Ag in the Classroom educator at Cornell Cooperative Extension in Mt. Morris, New York
- Tom Fontana, director of Research and Education at the Ohio Soybean Council
“Our Sustainable Ag Research Action Team understands this imperative need to get agriculture integrated into the curricula of mainstream science classrooms,” said Dana Allen-Tully, who is also a Minnesota dairy farmer and corn grower. “Helping bridge the gap between teachers, students and farmers is paramount in the present to help draw the best and brightest candidates into ag careers that will propel our industry in the future.”
NTF rounded out their Commodity Classic series on Saturday with a leadership session and curriculum work. The team of twenty teachers worked on creating new curriculum to supplement the lessons found on the NTF website.
“Thank you so very much for this amazing opportunity to see and talk to people in the ag industry from all across the nation! It was heart-warming and reassuring that so many people in the industry were excited and optimistic about a group of teachers attending the conference,” said Ohio teacher Cait Maloy. “It was an inspiring opportunity and reinvigorated my passion for teaching, especially with the knowledge I gained that I can take back to the classroom.”
Nourish the Future is made possible through the assistance of the National Corn Growers Association, the nation’s corn farmers and their state corn checkoff programs. For more information on additional 2022 workshops, curriculum, the upcoming NTF webinar series or local programs, visit nourishthefuture.org.