ROME, N.Y. — Offering educators assets that connect them to real New York farmers was the aim of the New York Beef Council (NYBC), American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture (AFBFA), and New York Agriculture in the Classroom (NYAITC) partnership. The Next Generation Beef Toolkits have been developed to help teachers, across the US, implement Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) through an engagement with the beef industry. Each toolkit provides standards-based lessons, background knowledge on core concepts, and real-world on-the-farm phenomenon geared toward middle school and high school students. Upon completion of the toolkit, the curriculum will extend student learning while challenging them to apply their newfound knowledge gained from beef agriculture practices.
The first of three Next Generation Beef Toolkits was recently completed and added to the resources available to educators on the NYAITC website. The “Ecosystems and Soil Health Toolkit” offer educators lesson plans and videos for a 3rd-5th grade audience developed by NYAITC for New York FFA and STEM educators. The grade school lesson plans were then given to AFBFA to create the NGSS Transfer Task Tool Kit and offered to middle school and high school science teachers throughout the United States. Teacher utilization of the soil toolkit will empower students to develop a deeper understanding of the environment and soil health taught by a real New York beef farmer who uses science-based best practices to benefit his farm’s ecosystem and the natural ecosystems that surround it.
New York beef producer and grazing specialist at the Madison County Soil & Water Conservation District, Troy Bishopp, facilitated the videotaping and informational tour that was the catalyst to the development of the lesson plans at his farm in Deansboro, NY. The NGSS tool kit activities and lesson plans, based on those videos, introduced students and teachers to rotational grazing and protein upcycling shot on Troy’s farm, and can be seen here: https://youtu.be/sYv7PH_1198
“We’re always happy to inspire young people on the importance of soil health principles, grazing management, and how the integration of beef cattle work as a catalyst for our biological systems. As a fifth-generation farm, we value the education that students receive, learning and understanding agriculture in different contexts. We appreciate sharing our story”, said Bishopp.
According to the USDA, approximately one-third of the land in the US is pasture and rangeland that is unsuitable for growing food crops but is perfectly suited for raising cattle. Beef cattle regenerate land and sequester carbon naturally, simply by grazing. Every day, cattle graze and unknowingly turn natural resources like solar energy and pastureland into high-quality protein and other invaluable products.
NYBC with the help of both the Iowa Beef Industry Council and South Dakota Beef Industry Council hope to bring light to this information in STEM classrooms throughout New York and the US.
To view the Next Generation Soil Toolkit visit: https://newyork.agclassroom.org/resources/lesson_toolkits/
To learn more about the upcycling process and cattle’s role in sustainability visit: https://www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com/map
To learn more about the upcycling process and cattle’s role in sustainability right here in NYS visit: https://www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com/map/new-york
–New York Beef Council