Tomorrow’s agriculture depends on today’s young people. The USDA invites educators, club, and community leaders to use agricultural concepts to teach science, math, reading, writing, social studies, and other subjects, and develop educational opportunities in your community. You can help students learn about and connect with the world around them, and teach them why agriculture and natural resources matter. Learn more about USDA resources, curricula, and teacher training opportunities.
Select USDA Resources for Educators
Agriculture in the Classroom (AITC)
USDA NIFA's Agriculture in the Classroom Program (AITC) helps improve agricultural literacy, awareness, knowledge, and appreciation among pre-K through 12th-grade teachers and their students. AITC serves nearly 5 million students and 60,000 teachers annually through workshops, conferences, field trips, farm tours, and other activities. Visit the AITC’s curriculum website for K-12 standards-based lesson plans and companion resources in science, social studies, health and nutrition, and career and technical education.
A Garden of Learning
Jaqueline Holmes is a third-grade teacher at Triangle Elementary in Florida who won a 2018 Excellence in Teaching about Agriculture Award for her schoolwide garden initiative to teach students reading, writing, math, science, and social studies, good nutrition, and the value of giving back to the community. Learn more about the innovative ways teachers are using agricultural concepts to teach their students.
Conservation education helps people of all ages understand and appreciate our country's natural resources -- and learn how to conserve those resources for future generations. Through structured educational experiences and activities for varying age groups and populations, conservation education helps people realize how natural resources and ecosystems affect each other and how resources can be used wisely. Learn more about formal and non-formal educational opportunities provided by the Forest Service.
4-H is USDA’s flagship positive youth development and education program. The unique partnership with the Cooperative Extension System through land-grant universities and the National 4-H Council empowers young people to lead for a lifetime. 4-H uses experiential learning—learning by doing—as a primary teaching approach to learn life skills such as leadership, citizenship, community service, STEM education, and public speaking. Membership is open to all youth beginning at age 8 or 4th grade. L and-grant university extension 4-H offices deliver local programs. Additionally, military 4-H clubs offer quality educational experiences that allow youth to continue their 4-H work wherever they move when their parents are deployed.
Join or start a 4‑H club by contacting your local 4-H office.
Do you want to start a club or chapter? Contact a youth organization near you. Some examples include:
- 4-H - Join or start a 4-H club by contacting your local 4-H office.
- Jr. MANNRS encourages minority students in grades 7-12 to pursue STEM studies. Contact your local MANNRS chapter to learn more.
- FFA develops youth leadership skills, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. Find a chapter near you.
- Agriculture Future of America (AFA) offers career development for college students and young professionals in the agriculture and food industry. Learn more at AFA.
Team Nutrition, an initiative of the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, supports national efforts to promote lifelong healthy food choices and physical activity by improving the nutrition practices of the Child Nutrition Programs. It provides resources to schools, child care settings, and summer meal sites that participate in these programs.
Diploma in hand? Your college ag partners welcome you.
Once your students graduate high school, they can connect with opportunities in agriculture in higher education. USDA partners with organizations which empower college students through agricultural education.
The USDA Future Scientist Program engages communities and schools (grades K-12) with hands-on, inquiry-based activities with USDA researchers at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS). ARS scientists at ARS labs around the country open their doors to teachers, students, and parents with presentations on current research, hands-on demonstrations, career days, and inspiration for future careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). This program is a partnership among between USDA’s Hispanic-Service Institutions National Program, Agricultural Research Service, and Texas A&M University.
Five Reasons to Use Ag in the Classroom
- Use agricultural concepts to teach reading, writing, math, science, and social studies.
- Help students understand the importance of agriculture and natural resources, and introduce them to career opportunities.
- Reach students who may thrive with alternative teaching topics and approaches.
- Teach about cutting edge topics, like robotics, molecular biology, environmental science, nanotechnology, nutrition science, and more.
- Engage students with hands-on lessons and get outside!