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Montana Ag Network: Groups, agencies partner to create ag classroom foundation

Posted: 3:03 PM, Jul 11, 2019
Updated: 2019-07-11 17:03:07-04

For years, the Montana Ag in the Classroom program has taught youth about the importance of farmers and ranchers.

Now, the program is taking a new form, which Montana Department of Agriculture (MDA) Director Ben Thomas is excited about.

Thomas said the program ‘Montana Agriculture in the Classroom’ has traditionally been housed within the MDA.

“What we’ve noticed recently is we have so many partners who want to engage. So, what we did was form a new foundation called the Montana Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation and it’s a partnership between the Montana Department of Agriculture, Montana Farmers Union, the Montana Farm Bureau Federation and the Montana Office of Public Instruction,” he said.

According to Thomas, educating the next generation about agriculture and its impact in Montana, the nation, and the world is important.

“I like to think we’re better off in Montana than in some other states where they may not be as close to agriculture as the typical person is in Montana. But it’s critical.”

He added the average age of farmers and ranchers is almost 60 years old.

“There’s going to be a lot of turnover and a lot of opportunity and as I mentioned before, a whole lot of challenges we’re facing in the future. We just want our population to be educated from a young age about all of these challenges and opportunities.”

In the coming months, a full-time coordinator will be hired to take the reins of the new Montana Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation.

For more information about Montana Ag in the Classroom, contact the Department of Agriculture in Helena or visit here .

-Reported by Russell Nemetz/MTN News