NAITCO Newsletter
Fall 2021
Important Dates
Sept. 15, 2021 - CHS Foundation Classroom Grant applications due.
Oct. 15, 2021 - AFBFA's White-Reinhardt Scholarship, Grant applications due.
New 2021 Conference Sponsors
7 Generation Games
Kemin Industries
Rainmaker Sponsors
Our Sponsors
CHS Foundation
Iowa Farm Bureau
National Pork Board
Native American Agriculture Fund
Nutrien Limited
U.S. Department of Agriculture/National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Barn Raiser
Smithfield Foods
American Egg Board
Ardent Mills
Corteva Agriscience
Farm Credit
Pivot Bio
2445 Organics
American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture
The BRANDT Foundation
Dairy Farmers of America
Del Monte Foods, Inc.
Ford Motor Co.
Iowa Corn Promotion Board
Iowa State Extension and Outreach
Protect the Harvest
Vermeer Corporation
Ranch Hands
7 Generation Games
American Agri-Women
Cabot Creamery Coop
CropLife America
Dairy Excellence Foundation
Equipment Dealers Association
Golf Course Superintendents Association
Growmark Foundation
Iowa Turkey Federation
Kemin Industries
National Grange
Nutrients for Life Foundation
Silos and Smokestacks
National Heritage Area
Soybean Science Challenge
Virtual Farm Trips
World Prize Hall of Laureates
Support NAITCO
You can support agricultural literacy in Pre-K-12 classrooms by designating NAITCO as your charity when you shop Amazon. AmazonSmile allows you to select a non-profit to receive 0.5 percent of select purchases. Check out AmazonSmile to support NAITCO.
AITC Discussion Page
NAITCO has a Facebook page for teachers and other educators to share AITC related questions and conversations. NAITCO leadership realized that teachers and educators wanted a way to communicate with each other about AITC information and best practices. It can be used as a place of discussion for experienced and beginning educators alike. To join, please visit Agriculture in the Classroom Discussion Group and invite teachers and educators in your states to join as well.
NAITCO offers two opportunities to join the organization and allow others to show their support of agricultural literacy in Pre-K-12 classrooms. For $25, teachers, informal educators and volunteers can join. For $10, students can join. Promote the NAITCO membership opportunity to educators and students in your state. Learn more and join NAITCO today!
NAITCO Contact Information
Lisa Gaskalla
Executive Director
Phone: (352) 745-0246
Randy Bernhardt
Development Director
Phone: (505) 227-4090
Tessa Matuszak
Program Manager
Phone: (707) 694-0321
"Empire State of Agriculture"
Theme for 2022 National Conference in NY
The 2022 National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference "Empire State of Agriculture" is scheduled for June 28-July 1 at the Saratoga Springs City Center in Saratoga Springs, New York. Workshop proposals will be needed that demonstrate how agricultural concepts can be used to teach reading, writing, math, nutrition, science, STEM, social studies and more. Preferred workshop topics include, but aren't limited to:
  • Animal science and husbandry (beef cattle, dairy, equine)
  • Plant science (apples, cabbage, floriculture, sweet corn, potatoes, tomatoes etc.)
  • School gardens (hydroponics, aquaponics, tower gardens)
  • Renewable energy (biodiesel, biogas, wind, solar)
  • Conservation (water quality, soil health, pollinators)
  • Biotechnology (GMOs, cross-breeding, pesticides, nutrition quality)
  • Engineering (tractors, technology applications)
  • Transportation (moving commodities by river, rail, highway, etc.)
  • Geography (climate, soil)
  • Economy (farming inputs, rural infrastructure)
Primary workshop presenters receive a $50 reduction on their conference registration. We will email NAITC newsletter recipients with a link and deadline for workshop submissions this fall. In the meantime, enjoy highlights of the 2021 National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference held June 28- July 1, in Des Moines, Iowa. 
Next year's national conference is being planned as an on-site event. However, if COVID-19 or other health and safety issues prevent the organization from hosting an in-person event, we will switch to a hybrid or virtual platform. Accepted session proposals will be expected to be presented live and in-person. But consideration will be given to the feasibility of presenting the same or a similar session virtually.
Classroom Grants Available for Teachers
Sept. 15 Deadline for CHS Foundation Grants
Article ImageCHS Foundation is once again funding 15 $500 classroom grants for school garden, embryology and other agriculture-related classroom projects. Projects that use a virtual learning approach are eligible. 
Teachers in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade are eligible to apply and the deadline for applications is Sept. 15. Teachers whose projects are selected for funding will have until the end of the school year to complete them. Apply for a 2021 CHS Foundation Classroom Grant today! Learn about CHS Foundation Classroom Grants funded in the past.
Conference Scholarships Available
White-Reinhardt Applications Due Oct. 15
Article ImageHave an idea for an agricultural literacy project? Want to attend the 2022 National Agriculture in the Classroom national conference in Saratoga Springs, New York, but can't afford to do so? The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture (AFBFA) is now accepting applications for the White-Reinhardt Grant program for agricultural literacy projects and the Scholarship program for support to attend the national conference. Applications for both programs are due Oct. 15, and go through a review process involving the applicant's state Farm Bureau. Learn more and apply for a White-Reinhardt Grant today! Learn more and apply for a White-Reinhardt Scholarship today!
Journey 2050 Teaches Sustainability
Cross-Curricular Program, Gaming Platform
Article ImageThe Journey 2050 program is a unique combination of lesson plans and an educational gaming platform. The seven-level game and program meets educational standards for science, geography, social studies, STEM, career and technical education and agriculture classes. Lesson topics include: sustainability, soil, water, economy, geography, culture, careers, agriculture technology and project-based learning. It is geared to grades 7-12, is free of charge and is compatible on all devices.
New program, website and game updates are underway and are expected to be completed by early 2022. Program updates include a searchable educational standards database on the website, additional lesson plans on hot topics in agriculture, the option to use the program in French, and revised teacher reports. The website will have a new look with a clearer explanation of the program and how it works. To learn more about Journey 2050 and download the game, visit Journey 2050.
The extended-learning/home version of Journey 2050, Farmers 2050, is a free realistic farm game. Outside of playing it for fun, teachers have used it as a bell-ringer or break activity, even a homework assignment. In addition to planting, cultivating and harvesting crops, players trade goods and compete in Global Events. Help Nutrien reach its goal of 1 million users by downloading it at Farmers 2050 today! Questions about Journey 2050 or Farmers 2050? Email Program Manager Tessa Matuszak at
Smithfield Foods Sponsors NAITCO
Renewable Energy Lessons Showcase Efforts
Article Image
Smithfield Foods, Inc., an American food company and one of the world’s leading vertically integrated protein companies, is partnering with NAITCO to strengthen pre-kindergarten through 12th grade agricultural literacy and educate teachers and students about methods it and its affiliates are using to reduce their impacts on the environment.
The lessons, Farming for Energy for elementary students and Pig Power: Creating Biogas and Renewable Energy for secondary students, explore renewable and non-renewable energy sources, biogas production and the use of anaerobic digesters to convert animal manure into renewable energy to illustrate how Smithfield is working to meet its industry-leading sustainability goals. NAITCO’s partner, the National Center for Agricultural Literacy, created the lessons. For more information about the patnership between NAITCO and Smithfield, please check out the recently issued press release.
Fruit, Veggie Lessons Teach All Subjects
Del Monte Supports NAITCO, Good Nutrition
Article ImageDel Monte Foods, North American food production and distribution company, is once again supporting NAITCO and teachers' use of fruit and vegetable lessons from the National Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix. Just conduct a search using the words fruit or vegetables on the Curriculum Matrix to find pre-kindergarten through 12th grade lessons that cover different subjects such as science, genetics, nutrition and the farm-to-fork process of growing fruits and vegetables.
First Green Offers Educational Resources
Topics Cover Soil, Plants, Water Quality and More
Article Image
GCSAA’s First Green program is a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) environmental outreach program that uses the golf course as a living laboratory. STEM education encourages students to ask questions about the world around them and gives them the skills and confidence to solve tomorrow’s environmental challenges. Through First Green, students feel empowered to use their knowledge to take action to positively impact their communities. Lesson plans include units on soil and plant science, environmental sustainability, mathematics, water conservation, water quality, and much more.
Try It! Grower Changed the Way We Eat
Frieda Caplan Introduced new Fruit, Veggies
You may not have heard of Frieda Caplan, but chances are you have heard of her produce! The 1962 founder of her own produce company, Frieda Caplan introduced kiwi, yellow watermelon, baby carrots and spaghetti squash to supermarkets. In addition to helping grow the number of produce choices from an average of 65 in the 1960s to nearly 800 today, Caplan encouraged consumers to try unfamiliar foods. Think of the possibilities you can use with linking all of those unique fruits and vegetables back to local farms and gardens! You don’t want to miss this book. Purchase this book and use NAITCO as your AmazonSmile charity. This book review is provided by Kevin Daugherty, education director of Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom.
Try It!: How Frieda Caplan Changed the Way We Eat by Mara Rockliff; illustrated by Giselle Potter   ISBN 978-1-53444-6007-2.
First USDA/NIFA PDAL Workshops Held
Water Quality, Plant Genetics Topics in IA, KS
NAITCO received a new
USDA/NIFA "Professional Development for Agricultural Literacy" grant earlier this year to fund teacher workshops at land grant universities or USDA Agricultural Research Services labs. The "Step Up Science at the High School Level" workshops are geared to science teachers in grades 9-12, and allows them to immerse themselves in agricultural research projects in the lab and in the field.
The first two workshops were held Aug. 2-3 at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, and Aug. 3-5 at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas. Educators learned about the methods researchers are investigating to clean runoff from fields at the Iowa workshop and plant engineering and scientific methods in addressing weed resistance at the Kansas workshop. Altogether, nearly 40 educators attended the trainings and will take what they learned back to their classrooms. Thank you to USDA/NIFA for the grant funding, and to the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation and the Kansas Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom for hosting the first two workshops.
The next two workshops will be held next year at the University of Maryland and Texas A&M University and the USDA ARS station located there. Four more workshops will be scheduled after that. Information about upcoming workshops will be provided in the months ahead.
Denise Stewardson New NAITCO President
Katie Carpenter Elected President-Elect 2021-22 
Article Image Denise Stewardson, director of Utah Agriculture in the Classroom, became president of NAITCO for 2021-22 at the annual meeting of state and territory AITC contacts earlier this summer. Katie Carpenter, director of New York Agriculture in the Classroom, was elected president-elect. The remaining NAITCO Executive Committee members are Immediate Past President Tammy Maxey (VA), Treasurer/Eastern Region representative Debbi Cox (NH), Secretary/Western Region representative Jessica Jansen (OR), Eastern Region representative Chris Szkutak (MA), Southern Region representatives Matt Jackson (AR) and Chris Fleming (TN), Midwest Region representatives Sue Knott (MN) and Courtney Shreve (NE) and Western Region representative Mel Sikes (AK).
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