The American Farm Bureau for Agriculture has awarded 11 small grants to communities nationwide to boost agriculture education and engage youth in agriculture-related programs.
Farm bureaus in nine states received the $500 mini-grants, which will be used for various projects, including a mobile library in Michigan that will be filled with agriculture books, and an “agriculture reading corner” at a Georgia elementary school library. Some bureaus intend to use the funds for hands-on activities, like a junior high school greenhouse in Idaho.
According to a recent story in the U.S. News and World Report, agriculture education is gaining popularity in urban and rural high schools. Still, many states are struggling to find agriculture teachers. In Nebraska, a lack of agriculture teachers has forced several schools to delay new agriculture programs. The state’s Farm Bureau Foundation recently launched a scholarship and loan-assistance program to recruit aspiring agriculture educators to the classroom.
The United States Department of Agriculture estimates that since 2010, more than 54,000 jobs have been created annually in the food, agriculture, and renewable natural resources sectors of the country’s economy, which holds promise for students who graduate with classes in agriculture education.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Rural Education blog.