With each generation becoming further removed from agriculture, many teachers and students today have not had the opportunity to visit rural America, tour a farm or ranch, or meet someone who works in production agriculture. The Kansas Soybean Commission has partnered with U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance to launch a Teacher Awareness Program to create an opportunity for teachers and students to learn about the modern technologies used to produce food.
This immersion, created for high-school science and social studies classes, will support and promote the Discovering Farmland curriculum. To drive student engagement, it incorporates 360-degree videos of a pig farm and two companion activities that explore aspects of animal care and sustainable food production. The program encourages farmers to be present during the lessons to provide perspective on how agriculture is continuously improving and to answer students’ questions.
“The Kansas Soybean Commission is proud to partner with USFRA in this educational outreach effort. We believe teachers and students should have access to agricultural resources even if they are in an urban or suburban setting,” said Kansas Soybean Commission CEO Kenlon Johannes. “Because the students of today will be making the decisions of tomorrow, it is important that they be educated on the many facets of agriculture and its importance to society and our economy.”
In addition to the 360-degree video activities, the Discovering Farmland curriculum uses content from the award-winning documentary, FARMLAND, a film by James Moll. It includes compelling activities like the Digital Exploration (investigating food product labels), SMART Farm Virtual Field Trip, and Interactive Lesson Plans, which build off the four free lesson plans (Farming as an Industry, Educated Consumers, Breaking Down Stereotypes, and Challenges in Farming and Ranching). These activities inspire students in urban areas to gain insight and an understanding of where their food comes from and how farmers and ranchers produce it.
Through the USFRA and Discovery Education partnership, the Discovering Farmland program has reached more than 1 million students, with nearly 20,000 curriculum downloads.