Agriculture in the Classroom (AITC) Program
NIFA's Agriculture in the Classroom Program (AITC) serves nearly 5 million students and 60,000 teachers annually through workshops, conferences, field trips, farm tours, and other educational activities. AITC programs include working with state AITC activities engaged in a variety of issues relating to agricultural literacy. Other programs emphasized by the NIFA AITC office include:
- Science literacy
- Agricultural careers
- Pre-service and professional develop opportunities for teachers.
The disciplines of agriculture and education have been related for much of our nation's history. When most Americans lived on farms or in small towns, students often did farm chores before and after school. Old schoolbooks have numerous agricultural references. As the farming population began to decline, agricultural emphasis decreased in educational materials as well.
A core group of educators and agriculturalists pushed for more youth education about agriculture. They recognized the interlocking role of farming and food and fiber production with environmental quality, which included wildlife habitat, clean water, and the preservation of forests. This group went on to promote the national effort of AITC. Today AITC continues to help students gain a greater awareness of the role of agriculture in the economy and society so they will become citizens who support wise agricultural policies.