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Engaging and Educating Agricultural Educators Holds Inaugural Session

Across North Carolina, agriculture teachers and extension agents play a vital role in preparing the future generation of agriculturalists. As citizens of North Carolina become increasingly removed from production agriculture, more and more students entering the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences lack the firsthand experience of being raised on a farm. While at NC State, these students have the opportunity to gain valuable content knowledge and apply that knowledge in lab settings, however, there often still remains a disconnect between classroom and lab learning and application in the industry. As such, an increase in students’ knowledge and experiences with the latest agricultural technologies can translate into the integration of more accurate and relevant examples in agriculture classrooms and extension programs. This is why engagement within the agricultural industry is so imperative.

North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission awarded $24,200 to the NC Agricultural Foundation for the “Engaging and Educating Agricultural Educators (EEAE)” program. This grant provided opportunities for Agricultural Extension and Education students to gain real-world context and experiences, contributing to their preparation for future careers such as extension agents or agriculture teachers. Immersive experiences to farms and agricultural industries allowed students to connect content knowledge with real-world opportunities and perspectives that can be integrated into extension programming and curriculum development.

These immersive visits showcased the diversity that is found within North Carolina agriculture through sessions being held in different parts of the state. The grant recently held its inaugural session this Fall semester. Drs. Joy Morgan and Wendy Warner supervised a group of students on the Eastern tour and Drs. Misty Lambert and Travis Park supervised the Western tour. The tours entailed visits to local high schools, extension offices, local farms, non-profit organizations, agricultural businesses and state parks. Following this session, students prepared lesson plans based on their trips. These plans will be distributed to teachers and agents within the state to use within their classes and programs.

The AHS department wishes the EEAE program continued success during their future sessions.