Funds will help teachers incorporate ag literacy programs in classrooms across rural and urban Illinois.
Seventy-nine coalitions serving 89 Illinois counties have been awarded $640,000 in Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom (IAITC) grants, which can be used for materials, training, educational lessons and activities taking place during the 2018-19 school year.
The number of counties as well as the funding level mark an all-time high for the program. County coalition grants are made possible through funding from the IAA Foundation, the charitable arm of the Illinois Farm Bureau. The IAA Foundation raises funds for the IAITC program each year, and in addition to county grants, provides funding for Ag Mags, teacher grants, Summer Ag Institutes and more.
Partner organizations of IAITC include Illinois Farm Bureau, Facilitating Coordination in Agricultural Education, University of Illinois Extension, Illinois Beef Association, Illinois Corn Growers, Illinois Pork Producers, Illinois Soybean Association, Midwest Dairy Association, Illinois Department of Agriculture and the Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts.
“County level programs are the biggest strength of our IAITC efforts,” said Kevin Daugherty, IAITC education director. “Illinois has the benefit of local contacts that provide content knowledge and easy strategies for teachers to utilize. The county programs work to integrate agriculture into existing classroom curriculum.”
“Thanks to the work of local ag literacy coordinators, backed by the steadfast generosity of our individual and industry contributors, the IAA Foundation is able to award more in grant money to these coalitions than ever before,” said Susan Moore, IAA Foundation director. “These funds will allow local ag literacy efforts to continue to thrive in both rural and urban communities throughout Illinois.”
Annual donors include agribusiness partners and event participants with an interest in supporting the future of agriculture. For information on how to contribute, visit www.iaafoundation.org. Visit www.agintheclassroom.org for information about IAITC.