What’s the Educational Farming Company and why should we support it?

You may have found yourself asking these questions recently with all of the buzz spreading about the Educational Farming Company’s Racin’ Bacon Derby Dinner fundraiser October 20th. Between the pig racing, derby hat contests and local eats, there’s certainly a lot to talk about, but what exactly are the funds being raised for?

Simply put, the Educational Farming Company is an organization that champions agriculture in Arizona by promoting efforts to develop youth, teach agriculture in Arizona’s classrooms and informs the public about farming and ranching. Another way to explain it, it's the fund-raising arm of Arizona Farm Bureau. The Educational Farming company is a 501 c3. Funds from the Arizona Farm Bureau’s Educational Farming Company go to support numerous agricultural education programs including Ag In the Classroom, Summer Ag Institute, The Arizona FFA Association, Arizona 4-H, Project CENTRL and Arizona National Livestock Show.

Ag Education Director Katie Aikins teaching FFA students about food safety practices in the agriculture industry. All age groups are educated on agriculture. Studies have found that students learn more with hands-on experiences and agriculture is perfectly suited for this type of active learning.

·         Summer Ag Institute: Equips non-agricultural teachers with experiences to share with their students about Arizona Agriculture by having them visit various farms and ranches.

·         Project CENTRL: Provides new skills to leaders in Arizona’s rural communities

·         The Arizona FFA Association: Supports leadership development in our youth through agricultural education.

Think back to the first time you ever learned something about agriculture. For some, that memory challenge may be very difficult as you were too young, and it was too much a part of your everyday life to be an isolated incident to recall. For me, it was something that my mother and the news told me regarding the food we ate.

I falsely believed a lot of misinformation about agriculture growing up and it led me to make poor food buying decisions that were not supportive of all forms of agriculture. If I had the experiences then that I have now with farmers and ranchers, that story would have been a lot different. Equipped with knowledge, I am now a proud advocate for agriculture and a passionate supporter of Arizona’s farms and ranches. The only difference? Education!

The Educational Farming Company stops false narratives like the ones I believed by creating opportunities for individuals to not only learn the truth about agriculture but also get to know the farmers and ranchers in their state. Programs like Ag In the Classroom allow students to learn about agriculture first-hand by Pen Paling with a farmer, visiting local ranches, reading ag-accurate books and receiving curriculum and presentations aligned to state learning standards.

Agricultural Education has the power to turn wary consumers into passionate agriculturalists.  It changed my story and it can change the stories of many others. By supporting the Educational Farming Company and attending the Racin’ Bacon Derby Dinner, you are playing an integral role in educating our consumers. Help us to ensure the continuation and success of farm and ranch families in Arizona!

Editor’s Note: Tickets for the Racin’ Bacon Derby Dinner can be purchased online or by calling Paula Jensen with the Arizona Farm Bureau at (480) 635-3605. Tickets are $50 per person or you can reserve a table for your group (includes 8 tickets) for $500. Advanced ticket purchases are necessary to attend the event.

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