State Reports

State Summary 2017 — Nebraska

State Contact

Ms. Courtney Schaardt
Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation
5225 South 16th Street
Lincoln, NE 68501
P: 402.421.4461

Classroom Resources - Educator Tab Ag Mag -Developed 2 issues of Ag Mag to support Nebraska fourth grade content area standards for language arts, social studies, and science. This learning tool introduced new, non-fiction text to serve as a large class discussion piece, an activity for small groups or individuals, and an at home enrichment resource. oFirst Edition: At School with Agriculture oSecond Edition: Protectors of the Environment - Stewardship

Literature Guides -Created 12 Literature Guides for accurate agriculture books. Each guides introduces a beautiful, imaginative, lively text or picture book and is accompanied by professionally designed curriculum created by current educators. Students benefit from the exposure to quality literature and an understanding of Nebraska agriculture and its impact on their daily lives. -A Leaf Can Be by Laura Salas -Auntie Yang's Great Soybean Picnic by Beth Lo and Ginnie Lo -Farm by Elisha Cooper -Farmer George Plants a Nation by Peggy Thomas -PB&J Hooray by Janet Nolan -Seed, Soil, Sun: Earth's Recipe for Food by Cris Peterson -Sleep Tight Farm by Eugenie Doyle -The Apple Orchard Riddle by Margaret McNamara -The Pumpkin Circle by George Levenson -The Thing About Luck by Cynthia Kadohata -Thomas Jefferson Grows a Nation by Peggy Thomas -Tops & Bottoms by Janet Stevens

A Glimpse of Nebraska Agriculture -An 18” x 24” poster that shares an info-graphic to give viewers a quick glimpse of facts about Nebraska Agriculture.

Enriching Activities -Updated the look of all activities from Nebraska Ag in the Classroom to follow an easy-to-read format.

Major Program Accomplishments or Outputs

Created the new program, Connecting Chapters, program to equip FFA chapters to lead two agricultural literacy activities in elementary classrooms. 54 FFA chapters were trained to lead agricultural literacy activities.

Retained active participation in Ag Pen Pal Program in the 2017-2018 school year with 265 connections reaching an approximate 7,155 students. The Ag Pen Pal Program matches a farmer or rancher with a classroom to answer student questions.

Led 3, virtual corn field trips reaching 627 students that were able to ride along in the combine to experience harvest and in the tractor to experience planting, through video-chat with a farmer.

Focused youth consumer education on a Beef It Up unit in classrooms to supplement “Beef it Up” curriculum. 20 classrooms learned about the ethics farmers use in the beef life cycle, the codependent relationship with farmers and consumers, and the nutritional values of beef. Hosted 19th Annual Golf Classic to raise nearly $50,000 to support the Ag in the Classroom Program.

Continued Pre-Service Presentations in 6 colleges across the state. More than 230 education majors reached through 1-2 hour sessions during their education methods courses.

Continued Teacher Engagement In-Service with a presentation on incorporating agriculture into the classroom to

Awarded three, $500 and four, $250 mini-grants to classrooms that proposed special projects to incorporate agriculture into their classrooms while meeting state educational standards.

Funded 15 classroom field trips to a farm or ranch in Nebraska. One hundred percent of teachers surveyed reported their students’ perception of agriculture was positively changed by the field trip experience.

Trained 10 agriculture advocate groups to increase agriculture literacy with volunteers. Members of these groups include volunteers in high school, college, agribusiness, farmers and ranchers.

Major Program Impacts or Outcomes

25,769 students engaged in hands-on learning from Nebraska Ag in the Classroom.

100% of Ag Pen Pal farm/ranch volunteers see a need for the program to promote agricultural literacy in schools.

100% of Ag Pen Pal farm/ranch volunteers believe the program is an effective way to form a positive perception of agriculture with the next generation of consumers.

100% of teachers participating in classroom presentation saw an increase in student knowledge because of the lesson.

100% of teachers who took students on a farm/ranch field trip state their students’ perception of agriculture changed because of the field trip.

78% of Ag Pen Pal teacher participants state their students have an increased understanding about how farmers/ranchers use land to grow crops and support livestock.


Courtney Schaardt is the Director of Outreach Education for the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation. She directs the foundation’s agricultural literacy programming and serves as the Nebraska State Contact to the National Agriculture in the Classroom program. Courtney leads curriculum design, program management, and outreach education at events including festivals, fairs, and classroom visits.

Courtney is a 2014 graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications.

Courtney grew up in southeast Nebraska and spent most of her time working in her parent’s custom meat processing plant. She was active in 4-H & FFA which allowed her to spend time on her grandparent’s farm where raised horses, cattle, and chickens.