By now schools across South Carolina are out for the summer – and while students are enjoying their summer break, some teachers are actually headed back to class – to learn. It’s all part of the South Carolina Farm Bureau Federation’s Ag in the Classroom program. Commissioner Hugh Weathers joins me now with more.
Commissioner’s Talking Points:
• Ag in the Classroom is really a great program. It is important that South Carolina students learn about agriculture and the role it plays in the state’s leading industry sector – agribusiness.
• This week teachers from across the state are taking part in the Annual Ag in the Classroom Summer Professional Development Institute in Charleston. 50 teachers are participating and I’m told there is always a long waiting list for each year’s conference.
• The institute uses the latest educational theories and teaching methods to help teachers come up with innovative ways to use Ag in the Classroom curricula. They also get lesson plans and hands-on experience with agriculture through farm and agribusiness tours.
• Throughout the academic year, the more than 100 participating South Carolina schools receive (at no cost to them) Ag in the Classroom hands-on and grade-specific lessons and materials. All the materials address standards defined by the South Carolina Department of Education.
• Those materials combine agriculture concepts with core subjects. The program is offered for K4 through 8th grade.
• The program started in the late nineties and continues to grow – and I think it is a great example of the agricultural community’s ongoing efforts to help more and more people connect with agriculture.
• The average age of the South Carolina farmer is 59 – programs like this will help generate interest in farming