By Andy Fjeseth/ Montana Department of Agriculture

Montana’s Agriculture in the Classroom program will take on a new form as Montana Farmers Union, the Montana Farm Bureau Federation, the Office of Public Instruction and the Montana Department of Agriculture today announced the creation of a new nonprofit organization that will oversee and implement the program.

The Montana Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation will be a public-private partnership governed by a board of representatives from each of the founding partners. “Montana Farmers Union fully supports youth education programs that focus on local agriculture and food production,” said Alan Merrill, President of Montana Farmers Union. “We are proud to be a founding member of the Montana Ag in the Classroom
Foundation. This partnership with MAITC will help further the mission of teaching youth about agriculture in a fun and innovative way.”

Alan Merrill

“Agriculture is Montana’s number one industry and an important part of our state’s heritage,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen. “It has been a priority of the Office of Public Instruction to ensure that Montana students are knowledgeable and proud of our agricultural history. I look forward to building strong partnerships with our state’s ag leaders to promote agriculture in classrooms and expand ag career opportunities for Montana students.” “Montana Farm Bureau is glad to be part of the cohesive effort to revive the Montana Ag in the Classroom program,” said Rikki Swant of the Montana Farm Bureau Federation. “Montana students are future consumers and essentially the future of agriculture. It’s important to provide Montana’s teachers with accurate agriculture literacy materials and information in order to preserve our agricultural heritage and support our state’s #1 industry.”

“Educating the next generation about the impact of agriculture on our state, nation and world is vitally important,” said Ben Thomas, Director of the Montana Department of Agriculture. “We’re grateful to have some very engaged and committed partners who have stepped up to ensure this program remains vibrant well into the future.”
The MAITC program works to provide educational opportunities to discover agriculture’s many benefits for both today and tomorrow by providing teachers with timely, accurate, and integrated standards-based curriculum on Montana agriculture through “hands on, minds on” activities and encouraging critical thinking about the role of agriculture
in tomorrow’s world.

More information can be found at https://agr.mt.gov/Ag-in-the-Classroom