Ag In the Classroom and Advisory Meets May 21st

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The Ag in the Classroom and Ag Advisory Committee met on Tuesday, May 21st at Will County Farm Bureau and was called to order by Dakota Cowger at 6:45 pm with the following members present: Abby Jacobs Cowger, Mark Jones, Isebella Denny, Pam Robbins, Jill Ostby, Patrice Sharke, Dakota Cowger and Mark Schneidewind, Will County Farm Bureau manager. Mark Jones is retiring as an intern for the Farm Bureau through the Foundation and Isebella is the new intern for the 2024-25 school year.

Dakota reported on the school year figures for number of students reached and 8654 kids were reached. He is working on the grant due in July and he attended a state Ag in the Classroom meeting today. Ag Expo went well with over 802 students attending plus teachers. Jill indicated she loved the hands-on events for the students and the group thanked Mark Jones and Isebella Denny for doing the nutrition part for the Ag Expo program.

Summer Ag Institute already has 8 teachers signed up. With one of the coordinators not able to help this year, Dakota indicated we are filling in to help. Will County Day is June 17, Kendall is June 18th, Grundy is June 20th and LaSalle is June 21st. They reviewed the locations where they will stop in/at each county. Will County is offering two scholarships for this event this year through the Ag-in-the-Classroom program.

The Will County Fair will be held August 21-25 and the group discussed ideas for the tent. With several new groups in the tent this year, things will look different. Young Farmers Golf outing for ag education is set for July 26th at Green Garden Country Club and Mark provided an update of where they stand and what was going on. There are 2 raffles and the committee is working on 3-4 live items. There will be no harvest dinner for 2024 as the crew wanted a year off after doing it for 3 years in a row.

Abby provided an update on the Peotone FFA activities, Mark Jones has done very well and finished 4th in the job interview. He is one of 10 finalists for state FFA officers. The state FFA convention coming up in June and the Peotone FFA had a good flower sale and the green house is moving forward. They had a team advance to the state for running a meeting and did well. Also, Emma Bialko did well as working on her Star Program in Illinois FFA process. The Peotone FFA also attended the FFA acquaintance program at the Northern Illinois Food Bank.

Nancy Kuhajda was giving a program tonight and could not attend the meeting, but she provided Mark with some reports. She is working with Waste Management and Julie to do a garden and workplace programs and if the partnership comes through, she can double her impact. She was also published in USA today for working and teaching students about Cicadas.

Dakota reported on the grant again and they discussed the ag education award and surfaced some names for consideration. Mark reported on the scholarship from the Foundation and Mark and Isebella commented that there was a lot of positive conversation at their awards ceremony with 7 students from Peotone getting scholarships from the Farm Bureau Foundation. Mark reported that the deadline for the Focus on Youth program is early June. Also the committee was close to finalizing the elected official’s farm tour for the summer. Discussion was held on several other education items including the state budget.

The next 2 meetings for this committee are set for July 23rd and November 21st and both will be held at the Farm Bureau office at 6:30 pm.

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