NAITCO Newsletter 
Spring/Summer 2018
Important Dates
June 26 - 2018 Fire-Up Grant Recipients recognized, Portland, Maine.
June 26 - NAITCO Annual Meeting of State Contacts, Portland, Maine 
June 27-29 - NAITC National Conference 'Agriculture for ME on Land and Sea,' Portland, Maine
'In a Nut Shell'
Matrix Lesson
Students will explore pecan production from farm to fork, simulate the process of grafting and create a nutritious snack. Check out the 3th-5th grade lesson on the Curriculum Matrix.
Journey 2050
Teachers in 7th-12th grade: Are you interested in educating your students about agricultural sustainability in a fun, entertaining way? Educational platform Journey 2050 allows students to farm in three different countries and compete against each other to be the most sustainable farm.  Learn more and download Journey 2050.
Thank You to
NAITCO Sponsors
CHS Foundation, Inc.
Nutrien Ltd.
American Egg Board
Barn Raiser
Farm Credit
Land O' Lakes Foundation
8Point Promotions
American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture
Corteva Agriscience
Ford Motor Co.
Ranch Hands
American Agri-Women
Cabot Creamery Co-op
Cooke Aquaculture
Cotton's Journey
CropLife America
Farm Credit East
IDEXX Laboratories, Inc.
Iowa Farm Bureau
Maine Dept. of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry
McCain Foods
National Grange
Nutrients for Life Foundation
Oakhurst Dairy
Protect the Harvest
US Farmers & Ranchers Alliance
Wild Blueberry Commission
Yankee Farm Credit
Support NAITCO
You can support agricultural literacy in 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.
NAITCO offers two new opportunities to join the organization and show your support of agricultural literacy in K-12 classrooms. For $25, teachers, informal  educators and volunteers can join the organization. For $10, students can join the organization. Learn more and join the organization today!
NAITCO Contact Information
Lisa Gaskalla
Executive Director
Phone: (352) 745-0246
Development Director
If you know of organizations in your state that are supportive of agricultural literacy in K-12 classrooms at the national level, please contact NAITCO Development Director Randy J. Bernhardt by emailing
Dear Friends of NAITCO,
   You are receiving this e-newsletter because of your support of the National Agriculture in the Classroom Organization (NAITCO). The spring/summer issue will keep you informed about important upcoming NAITCO events, deadlines, and special programs. Thank you for being a big part of National Agriculture in the Classroom, and supporting its mission of creating an agriculturally literate world.
Willie Grenier, NAITCO President
National Conference Sold Out
Start Planning for Next Year's Conference
   This year's conference 'Agriculture for ME on Land and Sea' in June in Maine is sold out. But it's not too early to start planning for next year's conference 'AgVenture in the Natural State' set for June 18-21, 2019 in Little Rock, Ark.
   The same high quality, K-12, on-site and traveling workshops will show how to use agricultural concepts to teach reading, writing, math, science, social studies, STEAM and other subject areas. Also, the nearby William J. Clinton Presidential Center and the headquarters of Heifer International, the non-profit organization striving to eliminate global hunger and poverty, will be available for tours before and after the conference. Workshop proposals for the 2019 conference are needed. The online system to accept proposals will go live on the NAITCO website in July. Early October is the deadline for submissions. Conference registration  will go live on the NAITCO website in mid-January 2019. Check the national conference web page for updates.
Eight Teachers Win National Honor
Striving to Include Ag Concepts in Classrooms
Article Image   Eight teachers from around the country were selected as winners of the 2018 National Excellence in Teaching about Agriculture Award. The national award is sponsored by USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA/NIFA) and Farm Credit.
    Learn more about the 2018 national teacher winners. Winners will be honored at the national conference in Maine in June. The cost of their travel to the conference will be covered up to $1,500. They also will each receive a $500 honorarium.
CHS Scholarships to Conference Awarded
40 Teachers To Benefit from Scholarship
   The CHS Foundation is once again providing scholarships to help 40 K-12 teachers attend the national conference in Maine in June. The scholarship covers a $435 early bird conference registration. Learn more about the teachers who will receive scholarships to attend the conference.
2018 Agriculture Advocate Selected
New Mexico Rancher, Educator Wins
Article Image   Margaret 'Margie' McKeen, a New Mexico rancher who for years has educated youth about agriculture, has been selected as the 2018 Agriculture Advocate winner. The National Grange is once again sponsoring the Agriculture Advocate of the Year Award this year. McKeen's visits to schools in the 1990s grew into an annual field trip to her ranch for students from schools in a three-state radius of her operation. She will be honored at a banquet the evening of Wednesday June 27 at the national conference in MaineLearn more about this year's Agriculture Advocate winner.
Fire-Up Grant Projects Strengthen Programs
13 Projects Provide K-12 Edcuational Resources 
   Thirteen Agriculture in the Classroom (AITC) state programs used Fire-Up Grant funds from USDA/NIFA to strengthen their educational outreach to K-12 teachers and students during the 2017-18 school year. Projects supported with this year's Fire-Up Grant funds are as follows:
  • Alaska Agriculture in the Classroom developed indoor school garden curriculum and teacher training workshops.
  • Utah Agriculture in the Classroom created materials and training workshops to make classroom presentations by volunteers more educationally rigorous.
  • Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation developed an online, interactive map of Oregon agriculture.
  • Oklahoma Agriculture in the Classroom developed a poster set educating students about specialty crops grown in that state.
  • Virginia Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom created a curriculum guide that uses economic, geographic concepts and misconceptions about agriculture to teach K-5 students reading, writing, math, social studies and STEM.
  • Nebraska Farm Bureau's Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom developed a new workshop program to train FFA students how to educate elementary students about agriculture.
  • Florida Agriculture in the Classroom updated and reprinted its popular school garden curriculum Gardening for Grades.
  • New Jersey Agricultural Society expanded its popular school garden grant and teacher workshop program into inner city schools. 
  • Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom developed a 'Breakout Boxes' program in which teachers are trained to use agriculture-related lessons, games and activities to teach 4th-12th grade students reading, writing, math and science.
  • Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation developed teacher workshops that educate K-12 students about water quality and its importance to agriculture. 
  • Arizona Agriculture in the Classroom held a summer teacher workshop in which previous workshop goers evaluated and updated lesson plans and programs.
  • Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom developed an evaluation tool to measure the effectiveness of its Ag Mag student resources.
  • California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom reprinted its popular 'What's Growin' On' educational student resources.
'Purple Plow Puzzlers' Available
AFB's Foundation Offers STEM Activities
   The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture has developed 16 hands-on STEM activities to help students learn about agriculture. The Purple Plow Puzzlers are correlated to 5th-8th grade Next Generation Science Standards, and take up to 2 1/2 hours to complete. Students build bee 'hotels' and create systems that fight soil erosion, among other projects.Learn more and download the Purple Plow Puzzlers. .
Literature Committee Recommends Book 
John Deere, That's Who Ties Agriculture to STEM
   John Deere,That's Who is the story of John Deere's invention of the steel plow. The story starts by defining a problem farmers were having and describes how John Deere developed a final, better product. The story is a great way to begin a discussion about innovations that link agriculture to STEM subject areas. Beautiful illustrations by Tim Zeltner accompany this fun story. The author is Tracy Nelson Maurer and the ISBN number is 978-1627791298. Check out the lesson that goes with the book on the Curriculum Matrix.This quarterly book review is provided courtesy of Jessica Jansen, state contact for Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation, and the NAITCO Literature Committee. 
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