PENNSYLVANIA — Pennsylvania farmers want to make sure farming is passed down for generations to come. The P.A. Farm Bureau started a program to teach kids where their food is from. They use a mobile agriculture lab.
The class may start with old McDonald had a farm, but the lessons teach students at Shrewsberry Elementary so much more.
“This afternoon I’m teaching a lesson on soybeans and how some crayons are made from soybeans which means they are a renewable resource”, said Ag Lab Teacher Mark Kline.
Students grades 1 through 6 learn about where their food comes from and how agriculture affects their everyday lives.
“I think it’s funny because I think a lot of kids don’t really think about how much agriculture really affects their daily lives because I think when they think agriculture. They think solely farms”, said Kline.
The program was started 15 years ago when farmers noticed a disconnect between young kids and agriculture.
“People have even said well we don’t need farmers anymore. We can get the food from the grocery store”, said P.A. Farm Bureau Media Director Mark O’Neill.
What started as one mobile agriculture lab, is now a program with six mobile ag labs that has served 1 million Pennsylvania students. Shrewsberry teacher Becky Rohrbaugh says it’s easy to see why students love the program so much.
“It is different. It is exciting for the kids. It is hands on. They really look forward to it. Even my sixth graders ask what day are we going”, said Shrewsberry teacher Becky Rohrbaugh.
She says it is a win-win for Pennsylvania schools also because it helps them meet science and ecology standards.
“Also it is great for us, because it is hitting science standards that our science curriculum doesn’t already hit and it enhances what we do already such as the scientific method, communication skills and drawing conclusions”, said Becky Rohrbaugh.
Agriculture Lab teacher Mark Kline says he knows all of his students will not become farmers, but he is fine if they become scientists too.
“We have one called banana DNA where they extract the DNA out of the banana” said Kline.
This year alone, 100,000 students were taught about agriculture using the mobile ag lab.