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FFA students teach about agriculture in south Minneapolis

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MORRIS - On Friday, May 18, 2012 Morris Area's FFA chapter brought 33 members to Andersen Elementary School in the Twin Cities to participate in Ag in the Classroom. Along with FFA members, there were numerous adults from the community that came along to help throughout the day with the different activities.

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FFA members taught students in each classroom about how agriculture impacts each and every one of them, every single day. They were educated on different types of grain and livestock. The ultimate goal was to show them how their food got to their plate.

After the classroom portion, students were able to experience different species of livestock first-hand. The West Central Cattlemen's Association (with sponsorships from the Stevens County FFA Alumni and Ag Country Farm Credit Services) provided hamburgers during lunch for everyone taking part in the event.

Brooke Wente organized the lesson plan for the students at Andersen United Elementary a Pre-k - 8 school in south Minneapolis. She worked with Steven Date, a teacher at the school, to make a video showing a grain, beef, dairy and hog farms in rural Minnesota. This gave the students a better picture of how farms operate. The video featured Morris Area FFA members including Joanna Moser, Brady Wulf, Lloyd Lesmeister, Jake Moser and Brooke Wente. Brooke also developed hands on activities and fun assignments in the classroom to compliment the lesson.

FFA members were split into groups to teach the classroom lesson, teaching a total of six times each, and reaching 1,200 students in one day. FFA members would elaborate on how each part of the cheeseburger came from agriculture and explain the many other uses of that commodity. They were also given seed houses to grow their own soy beans.

After the classroom portion, the children were able to see livestock that area farmers had brought down for the day. The livestock consisted of a dairy cow, a beef steer, sheep and hogs. During lunch, the students got to come outside to get their cheeseburgers. The children enjoyed learning about agriculture and were excited to have "the farmers" at their school.

This is the third year that the Morris Area FFA has taken part in Ag in the Classroom and each year it is expanded to reach more urban youth. Chapters throughout Minnesota are hearing about the project and are trying to get their own Ag in the Classroom organized in the future. A few members from Lac qui Parle Valley FFA, Dassel Cokato FFA, Minnewaska FFA, New London- Spicer, KMS, and Detroit Lakes FFA came along to become familiar with Ag in the Classroom and bring back ideas to their FFA chapters.

This year's Ag in the Classroom was a definite success and was enjoyed by everyone who was involved. The Morris Area FFA gives a big thanks to everyone who helped and supported our Ag in the Classroom Program including Stevens Country FFA Alumni, Morris Co-op, Stevens County Farm Bureau, Cenex Harvest States, Land O'Lakes, Agri-Bank, Ag Country Farm Credit Services, and the Minnesota Pork Producers.

KARE 11 will run a story about this project on the segment "What's Cool in Your School" on Thursday, May 31 at 6:10 a.m. The story will also be available online at KARE11.com.

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