Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig last week presented the award for Leadership in Education to the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation.

The Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation (IALF) serves as a central resource for educators and volunteers who want to teach Iowa’s students about agriculture. As the leading producer of agricultural products, it is important for all Iowans to understand the essential role agriculture has in their lives. The flagship program — Agriculture in the Classroom — relies on a network of volunteers and organizations, like county Farm Bureaus, who share a vested interest in helping people learn about agriculture.

“We are very honored to be recognized for this award,” said IALF Executive Director Will Fett. “We have worked hard to ensure that teachers can easily incorporate agriculture and align it to their classroom lessons and that students can get excited about future careers in the agricultural industry.”

Ag literacy is critical

IALF believes that agricultural literacy is critical to the agricultural industry and by extension to the Iowa economy, helping students and adults understand where their food, fiber and fuel come from and how it is important in their daily lives. 

Teacher professional development workshops that IALF conducts give educators the skills they need to teach students about agriculture. STEM festivals and in-classroom presentations connect students with and get them excited about agriculture. Publications like Iowa Ag Today and the My Family’s Farm book series make agriculture tangible and real to all audiences.

“Iowans understand the unique and important role that agriculture plays in our state’s economy,” Naig said. “We are grateful to these organizations for advocating on behalf of our industry, fostering a sense of community, educating Iowans about our agricultural roots and pioneering advancements in testing technology. I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge their contributions and thank them for their continued leadership.”

In 2018, Agriculture in the Classroom efforts impacted more than 229,000 students across Iowa. Efforts here in Iowa are part of efforts from the National Agriculture in the Classroom organization that reaches more than 7 million students annually.

IALF was formed in May 2014 as a 501(c)3 nonprofit. It was organized as a collaborative effort by the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, commodity groups, agribusiness and other supporters.