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For Educators and Community Leaders

Educators and community leaders play a critical role in helping young people learn about and connect with the world around them. The USDA encourages educators, youth-serving organizations and community leaders to incorporate agricultural concepts across core curriculum to develop educational opportunities for students.

Listed below are USDA resources, curricula and teacher training opportunities to encourage participation in agricultural education.

 

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.

 

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.

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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.

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Do you want to start a club or chapter?
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Student clubs and organizations can serve as a catalyst for student success in agriculture. Start or find a chapter today:

  • 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.


Staying connected in higher education. Once students graduate high school, they have the opportunity to participate in USDA-partnered organizations in a collegiate chapter.

  • 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.

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Diploma in hand?
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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.

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Five Reasons to Use Ag in the Classroom
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  1. Use agricultural concepts to teach reading, writing, math, science, and social studies.
  2. Help students understand the importance of agriculture and natural resources, and introduce them to career opportunities.
  3. Reach students who may thrive with alternative teaching topics and approaches.
  4. Teach about cutting edge topics, like robotics, molecular biology, environmental science, nanotechnology, nutrition science, and more.
  5. Engage students with hands-on lessons and get outside!