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Seeing things from a fresh perspective

Commodity Classic is America’s largest farmer-led, farmer-focused convention and trade show. Seed to STEM’s sponsor, Kansas Corn, made it possible for S2S teacher leaders to experience this event. Lacie Fair, a Biology and Life Science teacher at Newton High School, had this to say about her trip:

I went to Commodity Classic hoping to learn about points of overlap between what is currently being done in the field of agriculture and my science curriculum. A primary goal was to see what is new in the field of seed science—I am particularly interested in how CRISPR could change the game in terms of timelines for new seeds.

The event allowed me to see things from a fresh perspective. In my area, we are very limited to row cropping and other techniques you see as you drive by the field. I also learned more about what Ag really means, and how there are so many different opportunities for careers that don’t involve feeding animals or driving a tractor!

I really liked learning more about precision ag, a topic that would allow lots of investigation in a classroom setting. With the amount of data that must be utilized to make critical production decisions, it was great to see how many companies are developing programs to help farmers with the decision-making process. The precision ag programs all involved looking at local conditions, climate, soils, crops, and even localized pest problems.

The biggest thing I want to show my students is that agriculture is a truly collaborative field. They’d be surprised by the number of individuals that are involved in growing their food and other commodities. I also want to stress how all of these individuals work in their own specialized ways to help increase the yield in one field. From seed science to fertilizer, application technology to precision planting, harvesting to processing—without all of these fields working together we wouldn’t be were we are today and would have no hope of meeting the future global demands.

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