November 2013
Issue: 9
Sue Knott visits with educators at a workshop
MN Ag in the Classroom facilitated a workshop at the Ed MN conference.
In This Issue
Teacher Feature
Teacher Award
Fantastic Resources
AgMag in Action
Upcoming Events
Like us on Facebook 
Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom
Did you know that Minnesota leads the nation in turkey production?  Would you have guessed that pumpkins have been grown in North America for 9000 years?  It's the perfect time of year to share some fun facts to build agricultural literacy and connect agriculture to holiday meals and traditions!
Teacher Feature

Featured Teacher - Ms. Lisa SandersLisa Sanders

11th Grade AP/RCC Human Geography, 10th Grade AP U.S. History, 11th Grade World History/Geography

Austin High School, Austin, MN


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

I have used the Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom program to enhance my students' understanding of the agricultural products produced in Minnesota in addition to the products that are produced locally. We are the home of the Hormel Foods Corporation, so students are aware of the agricultural materials used by Hormel as well as the products produced by Hormel. However they are not aware of the location of other agricultural products such as poultry, sugar beets, dairies, etc. in Minnesota. I use the  MAITC maps and activities to provide my students with local examples of where agricultural products are produced that they use on a daily basis.


What advice do you have for other teachers on using agriculture in their curriculum?

I would suggest that they focus on the products their students interact with the most and then identify local producers of these products. This would provide students with a connection to agriculture and make the study of agriculture more meaningful for them.


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

Even though many of our students have never been on a farm or produced

 their own food, they do need to understand the agricultural process and understand how their food is produced. By understanding this, students will then be able to see the impact local products can have on world markets and how products produced in other countries also impact them locally. Students need to understand the changes that have also occurred in agriculture as the world's population is increasing which is resulting in larger cities and less farmland to produce our products on. Students need to understand these changes to also see how changes in population, technology, culture, etc. at the local and global levels impact themselves and their way of life. Agriculture is one area that students often do not know a lot about, so it is very important to provide them with this knowledge to help them become better global citizens.
Excellence in Teaching about Agriculture Award
The MAITC Foundation is sponsoring the Minnesota Excellence in Teaching about Agriculture Award that will be given to an educator currently engaged in classroom instruction at the K-12 grade level.  This award is designed to recognize the teacher for his/her creative efforts to teach students about the importance of agriculture.  The winning teacher will receive $500 and have up to $1500 of his/her expenses paid to attend the National Ag in the Classroom Conference in Hershey, Pennsylvania.  Excellence in Teaching Applications (PDF) are due December 6, 2013.  
2013 National Excellence in Teaching about Agriculture Winners.
2013 National Excellence in Teaching about Agriculture Winners.
Presidential Turkey - from MN to Washington DC!

Every Thanksgiving, the White House holds a ceremony where a turkey is pardoned by the President. This year, the turkey being pardoned during the National Thanksgiving Ceremony is from Badger, Minnesota (just south of the Canadian border). This is a huge honor! The prestigious turkey has been raised by John Burkel and his family on their farm. You can follow their story at Minnesota Turkey Website

Minnesota Turkey Facebook Page

The Burkel family is one of the 250 Minnesota turkey farmers that operate approximately 600 turkey farms across the state. Many of these turkey farmers are 3rd, 4th, and 5th generation farmers. Minnesota ranks first in the US in turkey production - raising 47 million turkeys annually.  The world's largest hatchery, Willmar Poultry Company, is located in Willmar, MN. Minnesota is also home to the world's 2nd largest turkey processing facility, Jennie-O Turkey Store.  

Presidential turkey meets students
Presidential Turkey meets Minnesota students.

Fantastic Resources   

 MN School Garden Buide

Minnesota School Garden Guide 

This guide offers information for starting and maintaining a school garden in Minnesota.  In addition, 31 lessons connected to MN  K-12 academic standards are included.  Available FREE on the MN  Ag in the Classroom website.  

Mill City Museum
We highly recommend a field trip to the Mill City Museum!  Their website also offers fantastic interactive, history focused educational activities.


Marketplace, Homeland Productions, the Center for Investigative Reporting and PBS News Hour explore the challenge of feeding the world on this website.  An awesome interactive world map and timeline of food are are included.
Children's Literature - Fantastic Farm Machines by
Cris Peterson
ISBN 1-59078-271-2
This book introduces the reader to 12 different machines that demonstrate various tasks and technology involved in today's agriculture.  Color photographs showing a range of close-up and distant aerial shots enhance the content.  Author Cris Peterson received rave reviews as a speaker at our National Ag in the Classroom conference in Minneapolis. Available through the MN Ag in the Classroom book bundle.


MN ag 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.

Students at the school of engineering and arts greet visitors
MAITC worked with the School of Engineering and Arts in Golden Valley to host some international visitors who wanted an Ag in the Classroom experience.

AgMag in Action! 

 If you or a teacher you know are using the AgMag than you will want to receive our new AgMag in Action e-news feature.  Twice a month easy to implement hands-on activities will be sent via email.  These activities are linked to academic standards and can be used to extend the AgMag information.  Contact to receive the AgMag in Action! 

students do an experiment with soil erosion
Farmers: Stewards of Land and Water was the title of a station that MAITC led at two water festivals this fall.
The first  individual to respond with the correct answer will win a MAITC baseball cap.
How many turkeys were raised in Minnesota in 2012?
Send answers to
Congratulations to the September trivia winner Sarah Britton from Janesville .  Sarah knew that the most recent grape developed by the U of MN is the Marquette.
Upcoming Events
November 12, 2013
Pre-Service Teacher Workshop
U of M Morris
November 26, 2013
Pre-Service Teacher Workshop
St. Cloud State University
December 2, 2013
Pre-service Teacher Workshop
St. Catherine's Univeristy
December 4, 2013
Pre-Service Teacher Workshop
Gustavus Adolphus College
December 12, 2013
U of M FFA Invite
St. Paul, MN
December 18, 2013
MAELC Meeting


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Sue Knott                                                Al Withers
MAITC Education Specialist                      MAITC Program Director                  
651-201-6486                                           651-201-6886