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NJDA Program Turns Farms into Classrooms
For Immediate Release: October 23, 2001 Contact:

Hope Gruzlovic


New Jersey Agriculture Secretary Art Brown, Jr., visited Lee Turkey Farm in Hightstown today where and Ms. Marie Kinney and her first-grade students from the Taylor-Mills School in Manalapan were taking advantage of the latest agricultural education program, Linking Students With Agriculture (LSWA). "The 'Linking Students With Agriculture' project offers teachers from kindergarten through senior high a great way to teach some of our young people about the agriculture industry in a way that's appropriate to their grade level," Brown said. "At the same time, participating farmers have a new vehicle to carry their message to an important audience while they generate additional farm income." LSWA is an outgrowth of the national "Reinventing Agriculture Education for the Year 2020" initiative, an effort to reposition and strengthen agricultural and food systems for the 21st century. Time and again, at more than two dozen meetings around the state, agriculturalists and agricultural educators alike stressed the importance of educating New Jerseyans about the broad scope of the industry and its impacts on all of the state's citizens. "This is a great way to reach students," said Ronnie Lee, farm owner and president of the New Jersey Farmers' Direct Marketing Association (NJFDMA), a co-sponsor of the project. "The younger kids get to see where their food comes from, how we plant and harvest it and how we raise livestock while the older students will be exposed to a variety of different agricultural experiences and maybe even find the keys to their life's work through a farm visit." One of the many innovative aspects of the LSWA program is that access to it is available via NJDA's web site at http://www.state.nj.us/agriculture/rural/ag_education.htm. Through the internet, teachers can "visit" each farm, see what's available there, take a look at a proposed lesson plan based on the visit and see which of the state's core curriculum standards the visit will help them achieve. Currently 17 farms around the state are participants in the educational program. Development of the project, co-sponsored by the NJFDMA and the New Jersey Agricultural Society, was funded in part by a grant from USDA's Federal State Marketing Improvement Program.

Secretary of Agriculture Art Brown kicked off the department's Linking Students With Agriculture program Oct. 23 at Lee Turkey Farm in Hightstown. The program's purpose is to connect students in K-12 with the Garden State's agriculture industry through real-life, hands-on learning at farms.

Ronnie Lee, owner of Lee Turkey Farm in Hightstown, led a group of school children on an educational tour Oct. 23 as part of the kick-off of NJDA's "Linking Students With Agriculture" program. Here he explains the kind of diet fed to the turkeys raised on his farm.