Ag in the Classroom

Our Agriculture in the Classroom program provides valuable resources for teachers and students in Polk County.  The goal of the program is to encourage educators to teach students about Iowa agriculture while meeting math, science, social studies, and language arts benchmarks.  Through creative lessons, fieldtrips, and hands-on projects students can learn about agriculture's role in Iowa's history, where our food comes from, and how technology continues to impact agriculture in our state.

  • Resources Currently Available:

    Agriculture in the Classroom(AITC) is a national program of the USDA and administered in Iowa by the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation.  The mission of AITC is to help students in grades K-12 acquire the knowledge needed 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. 

    The main goal of Polk County’s Ag in the Classroom program is to inspire and make it easier for educators to teach students about Iowa agriculture while meeting math, science, social studies, and language arts benchmarks.  Through creative lessons, hands-on projects, and programs that integrate technology students can learn about agriculture’s role in Iowa’s history, where our food comes from, conservation, and how technology continues to impact agriculture in our state.  We hope to inspire teachers to spark students’ curiosity and wonder about agriculture.    

    Resources Currently Available:

    • Monthly newsletter.  Any educator in Polk County may sign-up to receive a monthly e-newsletter from Ag in the Classroom.  The emails include a monthly update on what’s happening on farms in Iowa and across the country, agriculture-related STEM lessons, hands-on activity ideas, and information on AITC activities and grants.  To receive this newsletter, please send your name, title, school, and email address to gvoga@ifbf.org
    • Agriculture information and resources.   Call or email if you are looking for resources, need a lesson for a particular topic and subject, or have a specific question about agriculture.  Many educational kits, videos, and resources are available for teachers to check out at no charge.  We can also provide samples of corn, soybeans, and other agriculture products for your students to investigate.
    • Outreach opportunities.   Let Ag in the Classroom have a presence at your school by inviting us to attend a teacher’s meeting, science event, career fair, or any activity in which we can share ag-related information.  We would be happy to attend a workshop, in-service, or staff meeting to provid.e an introduction to AITC, promote the Teacher Supplement Grant program, or provide information on a specific agriculture topic or issue.
    • Special projects.  Polk County Ag in the Classroom can work with your school to design fieldtrips, grow crops, bring in agriculture speakers, form partnerships with local agribusinesses, or design an agriculture theme-year at your school.   If you have an idea for a project that would help students learn about agriculture, please contact us to explore how we can work together.
    • Farm Skype.  Bring the farm to your classroom through our Farm Skype program.  Your students can talk to a farmer live and watch as they harvest corn, plant soybeans, or feed livestock.  Opportunities exist to discuss seeds and plant lifecycles, jobs in rural communities, technology, water and soil conservation, and so much more.  The curriculum connections are endless!  
    • Teacher supplement grants.  Since 2003, the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation has awarded more than $450,000 in grants to schools to fund agriculture related activities and purchase books and resources.  Applications for grants are available in December, and the application deadline is in mid-February.   Teachers may receive up to $200, and there is no limit to how many grants one school may receive.
    • Professional Development Opportunities.  Each summer Polk County Farm Bureau offers professional development workshops for teachers that qualify for recertification credit.  These workshops offer an excellent opportunity for teachers to learn about agriculture through tours and engaging speakers, gather ready-to-use resources, and see how many curriculum areas connect to agriculture. 

    For more information contact:
    Gretchen Voga
    Education Specialist  
    Polk County Farm Bureau
    515-460-8683
    gvoga@ifbf.org

  • Education Internship

    The 2014 internship has been filled. Check back in November for information on the 2015 Ag in the Classroom Internship.

    2014 Agriculture in the Classroom Summer Internship

    Polk County Farm Bureau is looking for a highly motivated student for a summer internship working with the county’s Agriculture in the Classroom Program (AITC).  One of the intern’s primary responsibilities will be working with the Learning Test Plot Project, a program that enables Des Moines area schools to grow 30 x 30’ plots of corn and soybeans on school grounds to help students learn about Iowa agriculture and plant science.  The intern will be responsible for maintaining the plots, taking weekly pictures, at gathering data at the plots.  The intern will work with the AITC Program Director to design PowerPoint presentations that document the growth of each school’s crops, promote the project through social media, and develop new educational resources to compliment the project.  In addition, the intern will help to update the AITC database, assist with summer programs, and develop other agriculture resources for teachers.  

    Requirements:   Well qualified candidates will possess knowledge and experience in agriculture, and preferably have experience working with youth and planning educational activities.  The education intern must speak and write well and enjoy working outdoors.  Enthusiasm, flexibility, and passion for agriculture are a must.  Because independent work will be required, the intern must be a self-starter and comfortable solving problems independently.  Personal transportation is required, but the intern will be reimbursed for mileage from the Ankeny Farm Bureau office to schools.    

    Duration:  Summer (approximately 15 weeks, 35 hours/week) with part time hours available in late spring and fall to help with planting and harvest activities at the Learning Test Plot schools.  Opportunities exist for flexibility in schedule and duration.  Please call for details.  

    Compensation:  $9.50/hr. 

    Application Deadline:  Passed - Check back in November to apply for 2015

    To apply, please mail or email resume, cover letter, and a list of three references to:
    Gretchen Voga
    Agriculture in the Classroom Program Director
    Polk County Farm Bureau
    300 S.E. Delaware
    Ankeny, IA 50021
    515-460-8683
    gvoga@ifbf.org