03-01-17 USFRA®: New Discovering Farmland Curriculum Allows Students to Gain Real-World Insights about Agriculture

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New Discovering Farmland Curriculum Allows Students to Gain Real-World Insights about Agriculture

U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance® (USFRA®) partners with Discovery Education to launch Digital Exploration and Interactive Lesson Plans to show students where their food comes from.
ST. LOUIS (March 1, 2017) – When today’s youth stroll down grocery store aisles with their parents, labels on food and produce may elicit questions on health, safety or nutrition. With each generation further removed from agriculture, U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance’s (USFRA) Discovering Farmland curriculum empowers students with essential knowledge to better understand how their food is grown and raised, and make informed decisions when in the grocery store.
The Discovering Farmland curriculum, which launched November 2015, uses the award-winning documentary, “FARMLAND, a film by James Moll” as a foundation. It gives teachers and high school students a first-hand glimpse into agriculture through the eyes of six young farmers and ranchers, all while learning about food production’s connection to science, economics, technology and sustainability. Now available, the Digital Exploration and Interactive Lesson Plans build off the four free lesson plans and incorporate activities that bring excitement of the film and the agriculture industry directly into the classroom.
“Today’s students should have the opportunity to better connect their food with farmers and ranchers,” said Brad Greenway, USFRA Chairman and South Dakota crop and livestock farmer. “We hope students can learn about the science and sustainability that goes into today’s agricultural practices enabling the foods that end up in their home.” 
Included below is an overview of Discovering Farmland’s newest resources:
  • The Digital Exploration allows students to investigate food product labels by choosing a specific product from virtual grocery store shelves featuring produce, meat, and cereal. Typically taking 15-20 minutes, students can move at their own pace as they learn about various topics. To access this resource, click here.
  • The Interactive Lesson Plans are PowerPoint-based lessons that support interactive whiteboards and other 21st century learning tools. Teachers can access a range of dynamic, interactive classroom lessons (up to two 45-minute class periods each) designed to engage high school students in exploring critical issues impacting the agriculture industry. These build off the four existing lesson plans (two science, two social studies) including Farming as an Industry, Educated Consumers, Breaking Down Stereotypes and Challenges in Farming and Ranching. To access these lesson plans, click here.
To promote these lesson plans more broadly, USFRA partnered with Discovery Education who created lessons that are flexible and easy to integrate into the classroom. By aligning the lessons plans to the Next Generation Science Standards and agribusiness standards, the content can be integrated into a variety of settings. Serving 4.5 million educators and over 50 million students, Discovery Education’s services are in half of U.S. classrooms.
This initiative has inspired students with an innovative curriculum that brings to life critical issues impacting the agriculture industry, such as sustainability, the new science and technology behind farming, and entrepreneurship. To date, the Discovering FARMLAND project has reached over 850,000 students – 13,000 curriculums have been downloaded and 144,000 students have viewed the SMART Farm virtual field trip.
In 2017, Discovering Farmland will expand its footprint to engage more educators and students in a dialogue around innovations in today’s agricultural industry. New tools will include FARM360 VR immersion experiences, four new digital lesson bundles, video vignettes with companion activities, and more. 
To access these resources that are available to all high school students across the country, visit www.discoveringfarmland.com.
About U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance® (USFRA®)
U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) consists of about 100 farmer and rancher led organizations and agricultural partners representing virtually all aspects of agriculture, working to engage in dialogue with consumers who have questions about how today’s food is grown and raised. USFRA is committed to continuous improvement and supporting U.S. farmers and ranchers’ efforts to increase confidence and trust in today’s agriculture. To learn more, visit our website at www.fooddialogues.com. You can also find USFRA on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
This news release was wholly or partially funded by one or more Checkoff programs
This press release was wholly or partially funded by one or more Checkoff programs.