Last week my family had the honor of hosting a group of teachers to their cattle pasture as a learning stop on the Ag in the Classroom study week! My mom, a former national president of the National Cattleman's Beef Association, filled them in on the beef industry and life on her ranch. I wandered around and took photos of the group and the beautiful pasture, while the rest of the family herded a group of cows and fall calves across the hill and right up to the group!
My sister Amy is on the board of directors for the Kansas Foundation for Ag in the Classroom and has authored a number of their study guides. She helped herd the cattle up to the group, dismounted from her horse and while the cattle stood watching the people, and the people watched the cattle, Amy spoke about the grasslands of the Flint Hills of Kansas. It was a fun day, despite the heat and we enjoyed hosting the group.
Everyone got into the act--Amy's son Trey rode his horse to help with the roundup. It was fun to show three generations all working together to get the job done.
I was really impressed with the group and their questions. They seemed very interested in hearing the real story about cattle ranching. The teachers were from all over Kansas, some with agricultural backgrounds and many with very little daily contact with ag. I spoke about how to get their classrooms in touch with a rancher. I exchanged business cards with a couple of teachers and we're planning an "Adopt a Rancher" program and will exchange letters and photographs monthly throughout the school year. The 2nd graders will be able to practice their letter writing skills and ask interview questions, and I can share what is going on at the ranch. Hopefully we'll be able to either host the class at our ranch in the spring, or I may travel to their school for a face-to-face visit.
What a beautiful day and excellent way to connect people with what really happens on a ranch! Thanks to those teachers who braved the 98 degree weather to visit us! If any other teachers are interested in connecting with a rancher through our "Adopt a Rancher" program, do not hesitate to contact me! I can set you up with a local rancher, or I'd be happy to adopt your classroom myself. I have done this very successfully before and really enjoyed the opportunity to learn from the kids and show them what I do.