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LINCOLN, NEB. – The Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation offered corn virtual field trips to fourth and fifth grade classrooms participating in the Ag Pen Pal program this year. These live field trips featured corn harvest in Nebraska and brought the front seat of a combine directly into the classroom using mobile technology.

 Fourth and fifth graders from Lincoln and Omaha got an exciting opportunity to “ride-along” with a farmer harvesting crops.

“This was a fun opportunity to provide an actual harvest experience to urban students,” said Brad Frerichs, a corn and soybean farmer from Virginia, Nebraska. “Being able to share what we do and the importance of agriculture in our state is invaluable.”

More than 350 students participated in the virtual field trip including schools in Lincoln, Omaha, Bellevue, and Newman Grove.

Using an iPad in the field and computers in the classrooms, students were able to learn many different aspects of farming -- from the parts of the corn stalk to seeing what a combine looks like close up and how it harvests the corn.

“I want my class to experience part of what all students used to experience before our area was populated.” Jane Gundvaldson, a fourth grade teacher from Thomas Elementary in Gretna said. “Fewer and fewer students have any connection to a farm, and I want my class to know what it is truly like to raise crops to feed the world.”

Students were given the opportunity to submit questions prior the field trip. Farmer Brad was asked questions like: How long does harvest last? How much of the corn that you grow, do you keep for yourself and your family? Why don’t you use your hands to harvest? Do scarecrows really work?

“These questions are a great example of why agriculture education in our classrooms is so important,” said Courtney Schaardt, director of outreach education. “If we can teach these students the importance of agriculture to our state, they will understand how vital agriculture is in the lives of all Nebraskans”

These virtual field trips were sponsored by the Nebraska Corn Board.

The mission of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation is to engage youth, educators, and the general public to promote an understanding of the vital importance of agriculture in the lives of all Nebraskans. The Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. For more information about the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation, visit www.nefbfoundation.org.