State Reports

State Summary 2016 — Nebraska

State Contact

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

Classroom Resources

Science of Soy
- Developed education kits to supplement learning for “Science of Soy” Curriculum. The kit includes all materials necessary to conduct experiments in the curriculum

Beef Reader
- Updated “Beef Reader” a language arts tool for teachers to encourage reading in the classroom with an agriculture topic

Major Program Accomplishments or Outputs

Increased active participation in Ag Pen Pal Program from 165 connections in the 2015-2016 school year to 261 connections in the 2016-2017 school year. The Ag Pen Pal Program matches a farmer or rancher with a classroom to answer student questions.

Created live, virtual corn harvest field trips reaching more than 500 students that were able to ride along in the combine to experience harvest 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 lifecycle, the codependent relationship with farmers and consumers, and the nutritional values of beef. Hosted 17th Annual Golf Classic to raise nearly $40,000 to support the Ag in the Classroom Program. Continued Pre-Service Presentations in 7 colleges across the state. Over 400 education majors reached through 1-2 hour sessions during their education methods courses. Highlighted Nebraska Interactive Map Project during pre-service teacher presentations. In 2016, there have been 7,198 page views during 1,678 sessions, with 32% of users returning to the site for an additional session.

Revived Teacher Education In-Service with a presentation on incorporating agriculture into the classroom to these Nebraska groups: Career Educators Conference, Association of Teaching Science, and Library Association.

Awarded five, $400 mini-grants to classrooms that proposed special projects to incorporate agriculture into their classrooms while meeting state educational standards.

Funded 13 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

97% of Ag Pen Pal participants stated their students gained an appreciation for agriculture through the Ag Pen Pal Program.

100% of teachers saw an increase in student knowledge of the beef industry and the codependent relationship between beef producers and beef consumers through the Beef It Up program.

100% of teachers felt their students’ perception of agriculture was positively changed because of a field trip to a farm or ranch.


Courtney Schaardt, Director of Outreach Education, joined the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation in 2014. She has served as the Nebraska Ag in the Classroom State Contact since June 2016.

Courtney is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Education-Leadership. Her minors included Agribusiness and Animal Science. Courtney manages all efforts related to agriculture literacy including festivals, fairs, and classroom education. She coordinates the Ag Pen Pal Program and provides supplemental learning opportunities for Ag Pen Pal classrooms across Nebraska.

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 she raised horses, cattle and chickens.