Elementary Ag Education Program Receives $12,000 Farm Credit Grant

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Farm Credit recently made a $12,000 grant to the Ohio Livestock Coalition’s “For Your InFARMation,” an educational outreach program for the state’s third graders.

I grew up on a farm, but for kids today who haven’t had that experience, it’s amazing how much understanding they can lose, even in one generation, when that contact is no longer there. - Carl Hess, Farm Credit Mid-America regional vice president

There was a time when just about everyone knew where their food came from and how it was produced, because it was probably their dad, uncle or grandfather producing it on the family farm. But that’s not the case anymore.

“I grew up on a farm, but for kids today who haven’t had that experience, it’s amazing how much understanding they can lose, even in one generation, when that contact is no longer there,” said Carl Hess, Farm Credit Mid-America regional vice president for northwest Ohio.

That’s one of the reasons that Farm Credit recently made a $12,000 grant to the Ohio Livestock Coalition’s “For Your InFARMation,” an educational outreach program for the state’s third graders. The popular program, now in its fifth year, seeks to teach young Buckeyes about where their food comes from and how farmers provide excellent animal care and protect the land, air and water. Students also learn about the many career opportunities in agriculture.

The three-day, smart board lessons help students understand how Ohio livestock farmers feed their communities, their state, their world and the importance of agriculture to Ohio. The lessons, which were developed with the assistance of a third-grade teacher and curriculum consultant, support Ohio academic content standards for social studies, language arts, math and science.

Ohio Livestock Coalition executive director David White said that there are other good reasons for educating third graders about agriculture. “This is an age where kids are developing basic beliefs which will last for the rest of their lives,” said White. “It’s very important that we reach out and talk with them about the importance of agriculture, food producing animals and where their protein is coming from, at a very early age.”

One of the highlights of “For Your InFARMation” is an essay contest about what the third graders have learned during the three days of the program. The two contest winners, along with their whole class, win a free field trip to an Ohio livestock farm where they will be able to see and interact with farm animals up close, a first for many, and always a fun day. With school budget cuts, that has been their only field trip of the year for some of those classes.

White said that Farm Credit’s grant enabled the program to continue for another year, which wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. “Farm Credit’s donation has allowed us to continue this important program and has funded one third of it for the 2012-2013 school year,” said White. “Their participation is very much appreciated.”

Farm Credit’s Hess, who learned about the need while sitting on the OLC board, said that the program seemed like a good fit for the ag financial services cooperative’s Community Giving Program.

“We make loans to a lot of farmers who are really good at producing food, but don’t have the time to tell their story to the public,” he said. “Farm Credit works very hard to be a good neighbor in the communities we serve, and we believe it’s vitally important for young people to learn that farmers are good neighbors too.”

For more information about the program, visit http://www.ForYourInFARMation.com

About Farm Credit Mid-America

Farm Credit Services of Mid-America is an $19 billion financial services cooperative serving more than 92,500 farmers, agribusinesses and rural residents in Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. The association provides loans for all farm and rural living purposes including real estate, operating loans, equipment loans, and housing loans. FCS also provides an array of financial services, including crop insurance and leases. For more information about Farm Credit, call 1-800-444-FARM or visit them on the web at http://www.e-farmcredit.com.

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