Growing Minds From the Ground Up!
WCFBF Announces 2020 Scholarship Program
The WCFB Foundation has announced the 2020 scholarship program for area students majoring in a field of agriculture. The Foundation is offering the following scholarships:
- Up to three $2,500 scholarships to high school graduates planning to study agriculture at a four-year college/university.
- Up to two $2,500 scholarships to a current college student majoring in agriculture at a four-year college/university.
- One $1,000 scholarship to a high school or college students planning to attend or currently attending a two-year college/technical school that is studying in a field of agriculture.
“The Foundation is proud to support local students as they work towards their educational goals,” said Matt Lillpop, Executive Director of the Whiteside County Farm Bureau Foundation. “The demand for graduates in the agricultural field is outpacing the student supply. Agriculture needs today’s students to be tomorrow’s leaders in the agriculture industry,” Lillpop added.
Interested persons can contact Matt Lillpop, Executive Director of the Whiteside County Farm Bureau® Foundation, at email@example.com for more information.
WCFBF Hiring Summer Interns
The WCFBF Foundation is funding up to three summer internship positions to assist in the coordination of the Foundation’s summer 2020 Farm Camp program.
The Whiteside County Farm Bureau® Foundation is a general not-for-profit corporation organized under IRS Code 501(c)(3) with one of its goals being to serve the needs of our county’s youth through education and other opportunities, so that they may increase their knowledge of agriculture.
The internship is open to high seniors graduating in the spring of 2020 and current college students. Preference will be given to applicants from Whiteside County who have a farm background and/or are studying an agriculture- or communications-related field. Additional internship information can be found by visiting the Foundation’s website, including the online application. The application deadline is March 13, 2020.
Interested persons can contact Matt Lillpop, Executive Director of the WCFB Foundation.
Agriculture in the Classroom with Diane
What’s the Future of Farming?
As an Agriculture in the Classroom Coordinator, I get to take a variety of agriculture-related teaching props into the classrooms. Kids are amazed to stand beside a real stalk of corn and see how tall corn grows. They are intrigued by the soybean plant and most of them have no idea what they are even looking at (and even more surprised when they learn that ranch dressing is made from those soybeans). When spring arrives, I’ll take in live plants and chickens as we learn about plant and animal life cycles. But, winter requires some careful planning. Never knowing how much snow and ice we’ll have, I need to consider just how many props I will haul into classrooms. Therefore, we focus on the science and technology of agriculture. It’s one of my favorite lessons, because the information changes constantly.
Our youngest grades focus on how farmers use technology to produce foods that we eat everyday. They are surprised to learn that fresh, juicy tomatoes can be grown here in Illinois all year-round thanks to farmers using greenhouses or hydroponics inside glass houses. Think of that, a bright red, delicious tomato growing without soil here in northern Illinois in January – it happens!
Second graders and fifth graders focus on how farmers are using technology to change how they farm. In second grade, the Magic School Bus introduces students to the “Robot Farm.” Students quickly realize that it’s not just a story, but that the story depicts real advances in agriculture. Students are introduced to vertical farming for our fresh greens, the use of robots for harvesting fruit, autosteer in our tractors and the use of drones in agriculture. Fifth grade takes a more advanced approach and delve further into how drones are rapidly changing agricultural practices because of the new view that farmers and other agriculture professionals can have thanks to drones. How will the use of drones and precision agriculture change the way we farm? Maybe some of our future agriculture scientists are sitting in a Whiteside County classroom today.
Third graders have an opportunity to be hands-on scientists and learn to extract DNA from a strawberry. Students are surprised that, with some smashing and mashing, they can break open the cells of a strawberry and then extract the DNA with a solution made from water, salt and dish soap. Add a little rubbing alcohol and the DNA strand is quickly visible to the eye. It’s that strand of DNA that scientists study in any living thing to learn more about its blueprint.
Fourth grade focuses on technology in farm equipment and specifically John Deere. It's always surprising to me that so many kids don’t realize that John Deere was really a person … let alone, a person who built an entire company that forever changed agriculture, right here within 50 miles of where we live. We start with that famous plow and trace it through time to today’s tillage equipment. Then, we learn about the tractor and follow it from its early beginnings to today's equipment equipped with computers and autosteer and talk about the autonomous tractor which is nearing the market. Think of that, a tractor that doesn’t need a farmer on board. What about the solar-powered autonomous tractor that is still at the concept stage? Will that one day be common in our Midwestern farm fields?
It’s intriguing to think about the future of agriculture and exciting to know that some of the students sitting in Whiteside County classrooms today will be a part of the future of agriculture in some way.
Students learn about the foods they eat and where they come from
Students explore technology used in agriculture and the history of John Deere
Students extracting DNA from strawberries