Have you ever had a student say “Why are we learning this? I will never use this.” Or have you as a teacher just wanted to spice up your everyday lesson plans and have someone else come in and explain/show how this topic can be used on a day to day basis? There is a solution for you! A Farmer!  Here are just 8 simple ways a farmer can come in and make a topic come to life!

#1 Color#1

Have every Friday be a different color theme. For example one Friday have your color be Green and have a farmer come in as a special guest and tell the class about all the types of green things that are on their farm!

#2 Fractions

Invite a farmer to come in and do a math lesson about fractions with your students. Ask the farmer to explain why he uses fractions on his farm and how it helps them to determine how much each field makes.


#3 Animals

In a science unit talking about animals invite a farmer to come in and tell the class about the animals they have on the farm and what they are used for. Maybe even ask the farmer if he can bring a small animal into your classroom or see if your class can visit the farm and see the animals live in action!


#4 Transportation

Doing a Unit about different types of transportation? Have a farmer come in and talk about all the types of equipment they have on the farm like lawn mowers, combines, tractors, etc. and what they are used for. If your area is accessible maybe invite a farmer to bring a piece of equipment to the school and take a mini field trip outside so students can physically see what it is!

equipment collage

#5 Food

Invite a gardener to come into your classroom and talk about the types of fruits/vegetables he or she grows in their garden. Have the gardener explain what they grow and why they grow it. Also have the gardener explain to students why fruits and vegetables are very healthy for them to eat!


#6 Weather

Ask a grain farmer to come into your classroom and talk about how weather effects the outcome of what they grow. For example: without rain corn cannot grow and without corn some foods that we eat, like corn flakes, cannot be made.


#7 Reading

In your designated reading time of the day have a farmer come in and explain to your class how they have to read newspaper, magazines, and articles practically daily to learn about new inventions being created, trends in their business, and rules they need to follow.


#8 Pilgrims and Indians

When discussing pilgrims and Indians in your history lesson ask a farmer to come in and talk about how the ways of creating food have drastically changed over time and the technology they use to help them now. Ask the farmer if they can possibly bring in a piece of technology and show the class how it works!



abby jacobsAbby Jacobs
Joliet Junior College Student


Did you know this week is National Write a Letter of Appreciation Week? If you’d like to write a letter to a farmer, rancher, parent, grandparent, etc… we’d like to feature it here on our blog! Send your letters to ilcorn@ilcorn.org and we’ll also throw in a special gift for taking part!

Today’s letter comes from Coleen Bedford of Shoals, Indiana:

Dear Ag Teachers,

Thank you for pouring your life into the future of agriculture. Thank you for the early mornings, and late nights. Thank you for sincerely caring about each and every one of your students, and making your FFA chapter like a family. Thank you for being a listening ear, and a shoulder to cry on. Thank you for believing in your students, and doing whatever you can to help them achieve their goals. Thank you for teaching us not just how to fix fence and judge a dairy cow, but also to be honest, humble, and to persevere. Above all, thanks for making a difference in the lives of your students.

Coleen G. Bedford

student and ag teacher
Coleen Bedford with ag teacher Logan Felts


You’re an educator in a school that does not support an agriculture program or any agriculture based curriculum.  You ask yourself, “How does agriculture even relate to anything in my classroom anyway?” Think again.  Agriculture is everywhere in your students classroom, from the clothes on their back, to their lunches, crayons, glue, pencils, etc.  Agriculture can be incorporated into any classroom lesson whether it is the science behind DNA in plants, mechanics behind an engine, history of American agriculture, or even a simple math problem with agricultural ties.

Ag EverywhereTop 5 Reasons to Incorporate Ag into the Classroom:

  1. People need to know where their food comes from.
  2. Agriculture plays a HUGE role in our daily lives.
  3. Agriculture is everywhere you go.
  4. There are many misconceptions about the industry as a whole.
  5. By learning about agriculture, students are able to hinder miscommunications before they are introduced to social media, T.V., etc.

Ludwig  dairy farmLike mentioned above, agriculture is everywhere.  From the clothes on your back, food on the dinner table, and batteries in your TV remote, it plays a large role in our daily lives.   You may be asking yourself where to find information to teach.  Wait! There are unlimited amounts of resources for educators and people just like you around the state.  A few resources are listed below:

Listed above are numerous websites with hundreds of lesson plan options for you to take into the classroom.  Even better, commodity groups such as Illinois Corn, Illinois Beef Association, Illinois Pork Producers , and Illinois Soybean Association also have free resources.  There are many other ways to incorporate agriculture into your classroom by simply visiting a local farmer, seed dealer, grain elevator, hog farm, and many others.  This allows students to see firsthand daily operations in the agriculture industry.  You can also incorporate agricultural careers into your classroom by having students do a simple research project.  After all, jobs in agriculture aren’t all that different from careers outside of agriculture.  The same concepts are offered; just different subjects and rules may apply.  Your students may learn that careers such as horticulture are highly influenced by agriculture.  They may also learn they have an interest in an agricultural career.

Miles of OpportunityIn conclusion, agriculture is everywhere and any student can benefit from having it in the classroom.  Our country was founded with agriculture being the main ideal, so why wouldn’t we teach about it? Go explore, educate, and inspire your students to learn about agriculture. There are miles of opportunities waiting, what are you waiting for?

Danielle BrownDanielle Brown
IL Corn Ag in the Classroom Intern


So you are a teacher in a school that does not support FFA or an agricultural curriculum program. You are probably thinking, “Cows and tractors have nothing to do with my classroom. There would be no way to bring that into my teaching.”  Well, think again. Granted, the physical composition of the cow’s stomachs is pretty interesting, but it does not have to be that complicated.

holstein, milk cow, mom and babyQuestion:  In November of this year, a farmer has 5 cows that are due to have babies in March of next year. By April, how many cows will the farmer have? Answer:  10 cows. What just happened? That is a question with agriculture incorporated into it! Put pictures of cows with the question, and you have kids learning two things at once. Yes, this is kind of a remedial question, really for elementary children, but these kinds of questions can be designed for any grade level.

There are so many wonderful resources that can help you incorporate agriculture into your personal curriculums. Here are just a few:

Other resources available would be associations within your state, such as  Corn Growers, Beef Association, Pork Producers, and just about anything else. Just Google it! Everything agriculture will be at your fingertips. Most of these associations already have lesson plans, ready to use, for you on their website. All you have to do is download, or call them and they can send it to you. It is as easy as pie, which is also made from all things agriculture! It really cannot get much easier than that.

There are other ideas for incorporating agriculture into your classroom. If you do not want to use it in your math or science lessons, try having your students write a paper. It does not have to be all that extensive, and would be perfect for any grade level. Have each student write a paper, giving each student a different career to research. Then, have each student read his or her paper, or just summarize it with the class. With one career per person, everyone can learn about many different careers they may not have known existed.

Careers in agriculture are not always as different from a career outside of agriculture as you may think. Accounting, for example; it is all the same concepts, just with different subjects and a few different rules. Teaching:  most of the same requirements as any other teacher, you just get to teach a diverse array of topics. Even other areas, such as horticulture, are heavily influenced by agriculture, although you  may not realize it. From growing corn to growing watermelons, they all include agriculture, from necessary nutrients to sun exposure, every plant needs someone to take care of it.

In the end, incorporating agriculture is not really as hard as it may sound. Any student can benefit from having this in their every day classroom. From a simple math lesson, to a research paper, it is all beneficial for the growing minds of our future leaders. Our country was founded with agriculture being a main ideal. Why not keep it that way?

Katlyn PieperKatie Pieper
Illinois State University student