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Connecting Urban Communities with Agriculture

Agriculture provides a rich context for learning about Nebraska’s past and present, the environment, food production, nutrition and economics. While 91% of the state’s total land area is utilized for raising crops and livestock, few students and families have a direct connection to a farm or ranch. 

The Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation (NEFB) has partnered with Farm Credit Services of America (FCSAmerica) to increase Agriculture in the Classroom (AITC) programming, specifically in the Omaha metro as well as other high-population areas throughout the state. 

“Outreach to the public with relevant, reliable information about agriculture and food is more important than ever to grow a population that can make informed, healthy choices for Nebraska families and communities,” says Lona Thompson, director of development for the NEFB. “For Nebraska to be successful, agriculture must be successful. Nebraska Agriculture in the Classroom takes the first step toward this goal, connecting young Nebraskans to our state’s number one industry.”  

The mission of the NEFB is to empower youth, educators and the general public to understand the vital importance of agriculture in the lives of all Nebraskans. Through participation in the Nebraska AITC program, students, teachers and families learn about the agriculture industry and the production, processing, distribution and marketing of consumable products used every day. 

AITC equips teachers with materials that enable them to easily integrate agriculture into existing curriculum. With the support of AITC staff and farm and ranch volunteers, the program comes alive in classrooms through hands-on activities and personal interaction. 

Ongoing support from FCSAmerica ensures AITC education specialists can successfully implement and deliver agricultural literacy resources, experiences and events in formal and informal learning settings. These professional educators lead agriculture-based lessons; present at local festivals, county fairs and community events; lead hands-on learning at summer camps; and provide training and mentorship to FFA student volunteers. 

The addition of an education specialist in Omaha to complete classroom teaching and community outreach has increased the number of students who receive programming from Nebraska AITC. Today, the program has a statewide impact and engages with more than 30,000 students, teachers and families each year. 

“The long-term goal of Nebraska Agriculture in the Classroom is to grow a population base that values agriculture,” says Thompson. “The success of the program will mean farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses have the support they need to provide food and fuel, support the economy and contribute to a high quality of life in Nebraska.”

Community Involvement Contacts

For more information about our community involvement program, contact your local Farm Credit Services of America office or email community@fcsamerica.com.