September 2013
Issue: 8
kids with ag literacy fans at the state fair   
In This Issue
Teacher Feature
MN State Fair
Fantastic Resources
28th year of the AgMag
Garden Guide
Upcoming Events
Like us on Facebook 
Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom
Back to School!  Excited learners are once again filling classrooms across our state.  These growing minds are ready to absorb knowledge about the plants, animals and food that farmers produce.  Find an opportunity to share your excitement for the profound impact that agriculture has on our daily lives!

 Teacher Feature

Featured Teacher  - Ms. Becky Perkins Becky Perkins
7th-9th grade Language Arts Teacher at Belle Plaine Jr/Sr High


Why did you choose to become an educator?

I am a third generation teacher and three of my sisters also currently teach. I was a media specialist for 25+ years until I was recently promoted to the classroom. I have the best job in the word because I touch eternity.

How has agriculture and the Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom Program impacted your students and instruction?

Because of the Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom Program, students exit my room fully understanding what sustainable agriculture around the globe means. I have used the resources from MAITC to create real learning experiences and inspire life long learning and questioning. As we increase our junior high career exploration offerings, students are introduced to the myriad of agriculture related jobs and possibilities.

Describe any agriculture based projects you have been involved in lately.  An initial project in my classroom was a single aloe vera plant. It became a solution for paper cuts and chapped hands, a topic of research, an infinite supply of cuttings, and the spark to grow things. We have progressed to iPad research featuring ag websites, primary source databases, novels set on Minnesota farms, career exploration of ag related businesses, and eating school raised tilapia at our annual fish fry compliments of our Ag teacher. I was lucky enough to be awarded a CHS scholarship to attend the National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference this July.  I brought back armloads of materials, web sites, curriculum, and contact information from amazing people in the field of agriculture.

What advice do you have for other teachers on implementing agriculture into their classroom?

Our 21st century students need to know how and where their food and fiber comes from. They are all digital natives and have technology skills. They need to think creatively, problem solve, communicate, and work as a team. I tell teachers to start small, reach out to the ag community, and open the door to new teaching and learning possibilities. As I tell my students every day: dream big dreams and don't let the flies sit on you.

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

Today's students are tomorrow's community leaders and voting citizens. I want them to be passionately employed, and empathetic, critical thinkers who play by the Lone Ranger's Rules: Do what is best for the most. With awareness of agricultural possibilities comes engagement and entrepreneurship. When they are working for and running the nursing home I end up in, I want them to make sure I am eating as a locavore. I want to be turning the pages of a book made from the trees I planted ninety years ago. I want to be wearing and sleeping on cotton fibers, and ingesting quality U.S. pharmaceuticals based on the latest research. As my Grandmother said: "Stay close to the ground." And my Dad could usually be heard shouting: "Finish the race strong." Agriculture is our past, our present, and our future.

Becky Perkins teaching a lesson  

MAITC at the MN State Fair!
Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom made its presence at thMN Ag in the Classroom resources at the state fair e "great  Minnesota get together" with free resources available to fair goers in the MN Department of Agriculture area, Moo Booth and Little Farmhands. Our "Ag Literacy on a Stick" fans were a hit, as temperatures reached record highs! MAITC staff also served as tour guides for members of the Hmong American Partnership (HAP).  Many of the HAP tour participants were farmers in their native country and were excited to see the agricultural crops and livestock animals at the fair.
Hmong Americans touring the milking parlor 


Fantastic Resources    Spanish AgMag Jr

Spanish AgMag Jr.

The text in this resource is entirely in Spanish - perfect for the Spanish speaking student and also Spanish learner.  An accompanying teacher guide in English is the perfect compliment!  Available FREE on the MN Ag in the Classroom website.  

Website - Minnesota Farm to School  Girl scooping carrots in cafeteria
September is Farm to School Month!  Use the resources on this website (especially the "Educatorssection) to highlight local farmers and the food they produce that is available in the school cafeteria.


Edutopiaedutopia logo
We're a big fan of the teacher tips and knowledge shared at Edutopia!  The feature on agriculture and natural resources focused internships for 9-12 students was a recent highlight.
Children's Literature - Beef in the Story of Agriculture by Susan Anderson and JoAnne BuggeyBeef Cattle in the Story of Ag book 
ISBN 978-1-926781-09-9
This book, by two MN authors,
follows cattle from the farm to the dinner plate. The hows and whys of beef production, meat products, and nutrition are investigated and illustrated. Click here for information on ordering this book.
MN Agriculture in the Classroom logo     

 MAITC Grants

MN Ag in the Classroom proudly offers grants ($400 max) to assist  K-12  educators in bringing agriculture and food systems education "to life" by effectively integrating related content into their classroom or school.  Grant applications are due January 15, 2014.  Grant funds must be used during the 2014 calendar year.  Examples of winning applications from past years are posted here.


28th year of the AgMag!

Jen Hansen using AgMag with her students  

The 2013-2014 school year marks the 28th year that the AgMag has been available as a FREE resources for MN teachers and students.  If you don't receive this resource, use our online order form to receive the three issues in October, January and March.  These are a perfect fit for science and language arts, and are a great tool for achieving the new 6th grade Minnesota Studies standards.



MN School Garden Guide - Coming Soon!

This awesome resource for using school gardens as living classrooms will be available in October. With 30 lessons linked to MN K-12 academic standards and information for establishing and maintaining a MN garden, this FREE guide is a must have! Stay tuned for information on how to get your copy or access it online.


Kevin WIllimas showing bee hive
Kevin Williams educated MAITC staff Al Withers and Sue Knott about bees using his hives on top of the U of M's Bell Museum.
The first two individuals to respond with the correct answer will win 3 agricultural themed children's books.
What is the name of the most recent grape developed by the U of MN?  Hint - It was officially introduced in 2006 and is used in medium-bodied red table wine.
Send answers to
Congratulations to the July trivia winners Sarah Britton from Janesville and Brenda Resch from Lakefield.  Both knew that one stalk of field corn produces one ear of corn.
pumpkin in a patch
Use fall visits to apple orchards and pumpkin patches as ag literacy buliders!
Upcoming Events
September 25, 2013
Metro Area Children's Water Festival
St. Paul, MN
September 26, 2013
MAITC Foundation Annual Meeting at MN Zoo
Apple Valley, MN
October 12, 2013
St. Paul, MN
October 17, 2013
Education MN Conference
St. Paul, MN
October 30-Nov 2, 2013
National FFA Convention
Louisville, KY


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MN Department of Ag logo 
Sue Knott                                                Al Withers
MAITC Education Specialist                      MAITC Program Director
[email protected]                            [email protected]
651-201-6486                                           651-201-6886