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FFA is dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education..

The FFA Alumni Association supports and advocates for agricultural education and FFA through gifts of time, talent and financial resources..

The mission of the Illinois FFA Foundation is to provide financial support for the Illinois FFA. When you make a gift to the Illinois Foundation FFA, you are investing in the future of agriculture..

The Illinois Association of Vocation Agriculture Teachers (IAVAT) is a professional organization for agricultural teachers at all levels..

The Illinois Association of Community College Agriculture Instructors (IACCAI) is a statewide professional organization for postsecondary agriculture instructors. .

The Illinois Postsecondary Agricultural Student (PAS) Organization provides opportunities for individual growth, leadership and career preparation. .

The Illinois Farm Bureau & Affiliated Companies Youth Education in Agriculture program offers unique educational programs to Illinois youth in 4-H and FFA. .

The purpose of the Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom Program is to encourage educators to incorporate more information about the agriculture, food, and natural resources system into daily lessons..
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Facilitating Coordination in Agricultural Education (FCAE) is a state project administered through the Illinois State Board of Education that is tasked with improving and expanding agricultural education from pre-k through adult levels..

The Illinois Leadership Council for Agricultural Education (ILCAE) is a voluntary, grassroots agricultural industry group focused on the expansion and improvement of Agricultural Education programs at all levels..

The Illinois Committee for Agricultural Education (ICAE) is a 13-member committee established by legislation and appointed by the Governor to advise both the governor and state education agencies concerning Agricultural Education K-adult..

The Illinois State Board of Education is the state agency responsible for Pre-K through 12th grade education. Its primary mission is state program leadership, planning, approval, funding, and evaluation..

The Illinois Department of Agriculture will be an advocate for Illinois' agricultural industry and provide the necessary regulatory functions to benefit consumers, agricultural industry, and our natural resources.. provides information about the Agricultural Education profession and encourages students to consider a career as an agriculture teacher..

MyCAERT provides teachers with an integrated online system to Plan, Document, Deliver, and Assess Career and Technical Education instruction. .

Information Technology and Communication Services (ITCS) Instructional Materials provides agricultural education publications in a variety of formats. .

The Agricultural Experience Tracker is the premiere personalized online system for tracking experiences in agricultural education. .
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Casey Bolin
District 5 Program Advisor
Sections 21-25
1475 West Whittaker
Salem, IL 62881
Cell: (618) 780-0230
[email protected]
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Monsanto Resource - Fantasy Farming Challenge

Sunday, July 10, 2016

*Sent to D5 Ag Teachers.

Monsanto would like to share with you a STEM outreach project that one of our sites, the Monmouth Learning Center, does with students. The project is called the Fantasy Farming Challenge, and its purpose is to teach students about the risks and challenges associated with farming.

In the Challenge, students design a field making some of the choices a farmer does each growing season. Based loosely on the premise of fantasy football, the field, or “stadium,” is a 10’x100’ plot of land at the Monmouth Learning Center onto which the students make six key choices to grow a small crop of corn. The plot is planted and maintained by the Learning Center staff at no expense to the participating schools.

The six choices the students make for their plots are:

-          Corn seed product selection, with or without soil insecticide

-          Early, mid, or late planting date

-          Nitrogen application and timing

-          Fungicide application

-          Plant population

-          Row spacing

Though the participating schools do not need to pay to participate, each decision has a cost associated with it (comparable to market costs) so students can understand that each decision a farmer makes will cost them something – money, time, or other resources. In this way, the Fantasy Farming Challenge teaches the students the risks and challenges of farming by giving them a tangible experience in working their own “farm.” This is also a nice interdisciplinary lesson by seamlessly incorporating in the science, math, and technology involved in modern agriculture. Thus could be used with several classes (social studies, science, math, economics etc.)

After the Fantasy Farming plots are harvested, the Learning Center gives a prize to the school with the highest yield and a prize to the school with the highest profit.

Up to 20 schools can participate in the Challenge, but hundreds of students can benefit from the learning experience by following along on the Fantasy Farming Challenge page on America’s Farmers. Here, Troy, the Learning Center manager and formerly a high school teacher, writes about farming, corn growth and development, challenges that farmers might be facing that year, and he has video posts about the status of the Challenge plots.

There are also tools that educators can use in the classroom on the Teacher Toolkit page. While some are elementary in nature, the activities can be tailored to the needs of the students.

We encourage you to share this opportunity with your distribution list of educators as their students my want to follow along each season and perhaps pick the school that they think will win, and consider challenging your students to think critically about where their food comes from. You can do all this and more at the Fantasy Farming Challenge site.

For more information or to ask any questions, please contact Thea McLain ([email protected]) or email [email protected].

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