July 2013
Issue: 7
Andrew ZImmern addresses the AITC conference crowd
Celebrity chef Andrew Zimmern, addressed a group of nearly 500 at the Ag in the Classroom National Conference in Minneapolis on June 28th.
In This Issue
Teacher Feature
Urban Ag Visit
Fantastic Resources
National Conference
Thank you CHS
Upcoming Events
Like us on Facebook 
Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom
We were honored and excited to host nearly 500 participants from across the country for the the Agriculture in the Classroom National Conference June 26-28 in Minneapolis!  The conference was OUTSTANDING!  We hope to use the enthusiasm and momentum gained from the conference to continue to build awareness and appreciation for agriculture in our great state.

 Teacher Feature


Featured Teacher  - Mr. Ryan Larson

Teacher of 9th-12th grade students at Pine City High School


Why did you choose to become an educator?

I became an educator because I enjoy helping people learn.
How has agriculture and the Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom Program impacted your students and instruction?

Last year was my first year as a teacher at Pine City. My role primarily involves supporting students that struggle with their core classes of Math, Science, English and Social Studies. As a newer teacher in my district, eager to expand and develop my curriculum, I was excited to learn more about Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom and how it can benefit my students. I work with a number of students that either live or work on farms, and as a former farm kid myself, I like being able to draw connections between what they are learning and how it relates to what they know outside of school.

Describe your experience as a participant in the 2013 Agriculture in the Classroom National Conference.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the conference, and I was very grateful to attend because of the generous CHS scholarship I received. This was a great opportunity to attend some phenomenal workshops--I especially enjoyed the school gardening workshop put on by Jeff Eppen and Tim Uhlenkamp of Sibley East High School-- and connect with a number of like-minded educators from across the country and throughout the world. Throughout my time I found myself thinking how many of things that I was learning and experiencing would be great for some of my students that struggle in a regular classroom setting but would thrive in a more hands-on, experiential setting.

What experiences, resources, contacts, etc. gained at the AITC National Conference do you plan to implement into your curriculum and classroom?

On the last day of the conference, I participated in a learning lab done by Dr. Craig Wilson, director of the USDA/HSINP Future Scientist Project. As he drew me and the other surrounding people into the experiments he was doing, I quickly started thinking how I could replicate these for my 9th and 10th graders that really struggled to grasp some key concepts from their science classes. His approach was right on for what my students need. That is just one example of many that I recall as I reflect back on

my time at the 2013 National Ag in the Classroom Conference!

Why do you believe it is important for students to be agriculturally literate and aware in today's society?


I think it is important for students to be agriculturally literate and aware in today's society because I believe where our food comes from and how it is produced is important. Being agriculturally literate helps our students have a better understanding and appreciation of this process. I also think it may

help some of them to become more agriculturally active--even if it is starting with something as small as their own vegetable garden!


Dr. David Bredford describes apple grafting
Ryan Larson and other conference participants look on as U of M Apple Breeder Dr. David Bedford describes the grafting process.
Bringing Agriculture to the City
Why were hogs, sheep, pigs and a cow in a St. Paul school parking lot in late May?  It wasElementary students learn about cattle from FFA members  the third annual Urban Ag visit, spearheaded by the Morris FFA Chapter and FFA Alumni.  FFA members from the Morris Area FFA Chapter, Dassel Cokato FFA Chapter, Hancock FFA Chapter and agriculture groups shared information about their livestock animals and production agriculture with students at Risen Christ Elementary School in St. Paul.  Special guests including Princess Kay of the Milky Way Christine Reitsma and Pork Ambassador Sarah Marketon, also joined in to explain the importance of agriculture commodities and their impact on the students' lives.  Morris FFA Alumni and community members also grilled cheeseburgers for the students to enjoy in their school cafeteria.

 Students enjoy cheeseburgers from the Morris FFA Alumni 

Fantastic Resources   Farm Animal bookmark from MN Ag in the Classroom

Animal Bookmark

This oversized bookmark lists fun facts and terminology for Minnesota's agriculture animals.  This is a great addition to livestock animal events and a terrific "take home" item for farm visits.  Available FREE on the MN Ag in the Classroom website.

Website - Minnesota GrownMN Grown logo
Use this website to plan an adventure focused on local farms and producers of fruit, vegetables, meat, eggs, honey, Christmas trees and a host of other Minnesota products.  Also find farmers markets in your area and information about "What's in Season."
  Girl conducting an ag biotechnology experiment
4-H Agri-Science
The 4-H AgriScience curriculum has been created to cultivate emerging biotechnology and business/economics in  the agriculture industry through hands-on experiential learning activities and online learning courses for youth.
Children's Literature - Corn by Gail GibbonsCorn book by Gail Gibbons
ISBN 978-0-8234-2169-5
This book offers a history of corn as well as the details concerning planting, cultivation, harvesting and its many uses - a cornucopia of information about a popular crop that can be seen in fields across Minnesota during the summer months.  Find this book in the MN Ag in the Classroom Book Bundle.
National Conference

 AITC National Conference Logo   

The 2013 Agriculture in the Classroom National Conference was a huge success!  Thank you to all who helped us host the teachers, advocates AITC staff members and agriculture enthusiasts.  This was an awesome opportunity to highlight Minnesota agriculture and grow agricultural literacy!

 Participants seated at the ballroom for the Ag in the Classroom Conference   

Thank you CHS!

 The CHS Foundation generously provided a $15,000 grant which allowed 40 teachers to attend the 2013 Agriculture in the Classroom National Conference. View this video of scholarship  recipient Becky Perkins from Belle Plaine, MN to see just how thankful she is!

The first two individuals to respond with the correct answers will win a fantastic sun hat courtesy of the MDA!
  Sun Hat    
The recent hot weather has been perfect for growing corn!  On average, how many ears does one stalk of field, or dent, corn produce?
Send answers to
Congratulations to the May trivia winners Sarah Britton from Janesville and Jim Resch from Lakefield.  Both  knew that legumes like beans, peas and alfalfa add Nitrogen to the soil.
Al WIthers and Sarah Dornink kick off the conference
MAITC Program Director Al Withers and Conference Chair Sarah Dornink kick-off the Conference!
Upcoming Events
July 9-12, 2013
MN Assn of Ag Educators Conference
Alexandria, MN
August 12, 2013
Farm Camp at Farmamerica
Waseca, MN 
August 13-14, 2013
MN Conference on Teaching Economic Education
St. Paul, MN
Teachers gather resources at the Ag in the Classroom Conference
Teachers gather resources at the MAITC booth at the Ag in the Classroom National Conference


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Sue Knott                                                Al Withers
MAITC Education Specialist                      MAITC Program Director
[email protected]                            [email protected]
651-201-6486                                           651-201-6886