The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture has awarded 23 $500 mini-grants to communities across the nation. The grants are awarded through the Foundation’s White-Reinhardt Fund for Education program. The grants are allocated through county and state Farm Bureaus and are used to create new agricultural literacy projects or expand on existing agricultural literacy efforts. Criteria for selecting winners included: the effectiveness of demonstrating a strong connection between agriculture and education; how successfully the project enhances learner engagement in today’s food, fiber and fuel systems; and the processes and timelines for accomplishing project goals. “Teaching young rural and urban students about the importance of agriculture and the vital role it plays in our everyday lives is the primary goal of the mini-grant program,” said Julie Tesch, executive director of the Foundation. “The program was developed to help Farm Bureau members by providing free tools to share with educators in their communities.”

The White-Reinhardt Fund for Education is a project of the Foundation in cooperation with the American Farm Bureau’s Women’s Leadership Committee. The fund honors two former committee chairwomen, Berta White and Linda Reinhardt, who were trailblazers in early national efforts to expand the outreach of agricultural education and improve agricultural literacy.

2015 Mini-Grants Awarded to State and County Farm Bureaus:

Adams County Farm Bureau, Wisconsin AgriSTEM greenhouse program that uses STEM disciplines to teach 5th grade students about teamwork and business principles, while increasing agricultural knowledge.
Arizona Farm Bureau An additional trivia wheel and question inserts for AZFB’s Ag in the Classroom to use at community events to allow for a wider range of questions on agriculture.
Butts County Farm Bureau, Georgia Building a greenhouse to further engage students in community outreach and teach them  about environmental responsibility and sustainability.
Cass-Morgan County Farm Bureau, Illinois Purchase of mini incubators and creation of poultry kits for Farm Bureau members and teachers to use throughout the year to teach students about chicks and the life cycle.
Cherokee County Farm Bureau, Georgia Building of a raised garden bed to allow physically disabled children to plant vegetables and learn.
Clinton County Farm Bureau, Michigan A Skype program that will allow students to virtually visit a farm; includes supplemental books and educator guides to further enhance agricultural literacy efforts.
Cook County Farm Bureau, Illinois Expansion of the “There’s Ag on My Plate” program that teaches students in urban classrooms about food, fuel and fiber systems.
Crawford County Farm Bureau, Georgia Purchase of accurate ag books to further enhance classroom activities and Ag in the Classroom lessons in local communities.
Franklin County Farm Bureau, Illinois Creation of a kit based on the Ag in the Classroom lesson booklet “Cris Crossed.” The kit will contain all materials needed to do the projects and will be available for schools and organizations to checkout to help promote agricultural literacy.
Franklin County Farm Bureau, Kansas Project to teach students where flour comes from and the process that farmers go through to produce wheat. Students will plant and harvest wheat, then mill the wheat into flour to use for baking.
Harris County Farm Bureau, Georgia A library of agricultural books to be used in elementary school classrooms with Ag in the Classroom commodity lessons taught each month.
Lauderdale County Farm Bureau, Tennessee Incorporating an outdoor greenhouse in the Delve Into Gardening program. This alternative to traditional education will further educate students on agriculture and increase responsibility.
Lenawee County Farm Bureau, Michigan Purchase of an erosion model to be used for Project RED (Rural Education Days). This will expand this project into another area of agricultural education – soil erosion and water quality – which was previously not discussed.
Linn County Farm Bureau, Iowa Introduction of the Pizz-A-Thon program to a home school association. This program helps students develop leadership skills while running a “mock pizza business” all while showing how agriculture relates to the pizza they are making.
Marion County Farm Bureau, Florida Training for Marion County FFA Advisors and teachers on the forestry industry to be able to successfully provide forestry related classroom instruction and train a FFA Career Development Event team.
Mat-Su County Farm Bureau, Alaska Creation of a video to accompany the “Grow a Giant Cabbage” project. This video geared toward elementary age students will include information on cabbage and other vegetables, and their importance in the economy.
Missaukee County Farm Bureau, Michigan Accurate learning materials for students to learn about gardening and agriculture. A small greenhouse will be built to teach 7th grade students about small-scale farming.
New Hampshire Farm Bureau An agricultural literacy program based on “Who Grew My Soup?” to teach elementary school students about food groups, how food is produced and which commodities are produced locally.
Northwest County Farm Bureau, Michigan An agricultural literacy program based on “Who Grew My Soup?” to teach elementary school students about food groups, how food is produced and which commodities are produced locally.
Stafford County Farm Bureau, Virginia Agriculture day camps that provide hands-on agricultural experiences to increase agricultural literacy of campers ages 4-10. Campers will learn about food, fiber and fuel systems in relation to local agriculture.
Taliaferro County Farm Bureau, Georgia Day camps focused on agriculture, food sources and healthy eating hosted by Stafford County 4-H to reach underprivileged youth. Creation of a lending library for grades pre-K through 3. The library will have “Ag in a Bag” which consists of accurate ag books and lesson plans for supporting activities available for check out.
Walker County Farm Bureau, Georgia Establishment of two agricultural literacy mini-libraries for K-2nd grade and 3rd-5th grade. The libraries will be used for farmer school visits and classroom instruction.
Wayne County Farm Bureau, Indiana Expansion of an Ag in the Classroom project to include five new lessons on six of the main commodities raised in Indiana. Each lesson includes an accurate ag book and an activity related to the information discussed in the book.

The Foundation will announce a second mini-grant application process in fall 2015. Applications will be available online at http://www.agfoundation.org under Projects- White-Reinhardt Mini-Grants.