Students from around the country had the opportunity Tuesday to take a farm field trip from the comfort and convenience of their classrooms as part of a special program created by U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance in conjunction with Discovery Education. Titled “The Smart Farm: Where Technology and Innovation Meet,” the live virtual field trip reached more than 1,200 schools.
The National Corn Growers Association is a proud founding affiliate of the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance. “Before today, I couldn’t imagine taking more than 35,000 students on a field trip to a farm – but that’s exactly what USFRA did today with its Virtual Field Trip,” said NCGA President Chip Bowling, who represents the organization on the USFRA board of directors. “Today’s virtual field trip was a great way to share what takes place on farms like mine with audiences that can’t visit rural communities.”
Available at no cost, the event was hosted from Deere & Company World Headquarters in Moline, Ill., and transported classrooms across the country to a hog, corn and soybean farm to see today’s modern agricultural practices in action. Students also heard from fourth generation farmer Ryan Veldhuizen, who was featured in James Moll’s award-winning documentary, FARMLAND, as he discussed technology and innovation on today’s smart farms.
Discovering FARMLAND’s standards-aligned curriculum guides, lesson plans and interactive resources have become increasingly popular with high school teachers and students who are using these timely tools to gain real-world insights about where their food comes from. The program covers key issues in modern agriculture including: how technology has transformed the industry, challenges farmers face such as weather and growing conditions, common stereotypes around farmers and ranchers, and market supply and demand. The curriculum brings to life many of the themes covered in the FARMLAND film, and teaches students about food choices, sustainability, entrepreneurship and antibiotics, among many other topics.