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Forming Future Farmers

Forty-one teachers from Illinois recently got a lesson in how to teach agriculture—straight from the farm. Teachers from DuPage County, Ill., participated in a four-day course on farming and food production in a partnership program between Aurora University and the DuPage County Farm Bureau, according to the Chicago Tribune. Teachers can receive graduate-level credit for the course if they create two lesson plans.

Upon completing the course, educators are encouraged to introduce students to agriculture careers by incorporating the farming lessons into math, science, social studies, and language arts classes. "There are so many things our kids in the suburbs don't know about how we get food on the table," said Gail Sanders, an 8th grade teacher who took the course. She said that most of her students had never seen a strawberry plant when she took one to class last spring and she hopes to change this.

Teachers learned about robotic milking systems and visited a company that milks cows from a carousel-like ride. Other teachers traveled to a hog farm (where 75-80 piglets are born a week) to visit with hours-old piglets and learn about confinement issues for farm animals.

DuPage County Farm Bureau's Curtis Miller, who teaches the course, said, “If teachers can find a way to bring speakers and visitors into their classroom, and incorporate this into their existing curriculum, they can impact so many students per year."

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