Ag in the Classroom
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Ag in the Classroom is an exciting new initiative being brought to Sampson County elementary-aged children in schools, and we are excited for the program to grow in 2022! Special thanks to Sampson County United Way and Sampson County Farm Bureau for funding the program, N.C. Cooperative Extension is also partnering with North Carolina Farm Bureau Ag in the Classroom, and the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Farm to School Program to provide this great learning experience for our young people.
There are so many reasons to justify educating our youth on the importance of agriculture and specifically, the impact and contribution Sampson County has on our national and worldwide food supply. Sampson County is the second-largest agricultural county in North Carolina with over 50% of the county in farmland, and an annual agricultural income of over 1.2 billion dollars, which is 10% of North Carolina’s total agricultural sales.
Sampson is also the leading sweet potato-producing county of North Carolina, harvesting over 5.4 million bushels, and is the second-largest pork-producing county in North Carolina and the nation, with an average inventory of 1.9 million hogs and pigs (USDA NASS, 2019). For these reasons, the Agricultural Education Program plans to focus the first year of education for youth on sweet potato and pork production.
The N.C. Cooperative Extension Agricultural Education “Ag in the Classroom” inaugural program began in November at Sunset Avenue Elementary with two fourth grade classes, starting with an introduction to sweet potatoes. The program will continue to provide education to school-aged youth of Sampson County about agriculture and commodities grown throughout the county and North Carolina. The program will continue in 2022, delivering more education about sweet potato and pork production. The program’s goal is to focus on delivering learning materials for classrooms through reading material, visual aids, and virtual means, such as videos, virtual curriculum, and virtual farm tours to fourth-grade classes of the Sampson County and Clinton City School Systems, as well as providing educational materials to all Sampson County Libraries.
Teachers interested in this project will be introduced to the NC Farm Bureau “Ag in the Classroom” curriculum, with an opportunity for future training and resource materials. The program will compliment and create partnership opportunities to educational efforts through the Sampson County 4-H and FFA programs in the county. To learn more about the program and how you can be involved, contact Eileen Coite at the N.C. Cooperative Extension, Sampson County Center at 910-592-7161.