Earlier this summer, teachers became students as the Arizona Summer Ag Institute took teachers from across the state for an in-depth look at Arizona agriculture. The program, usually a week-long event that keeps teachers on a chartered bus to travel agriculture in-person, was a hybrid event this year. Participating teachers still received a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to engage and interact with Arizona agriculture. 

Our tour stops and speakers gave our Arizona teachers an “up close and personal” understanding of agriculture in our state. 

MONDAY – In Person
Teachers traveled to Yavapai County and learned about the importance of agricultural careers and the opportunities afforded by Yavapai Community College.   Equine, aquaculture, aquaponics, hydroponics, outdoor gardening, transplanting, and lineman programs were the morning’s highlights. 

Teachers headed inside to learn about hydroponics and greenhouse growing. 

After a lesson at the College, teachers traveled to Mortimer Farms in Dewey for an ag fair. Although teachers could not visit all the farms because of transportation challenges, the farms came to them! Teachers engaged with and learned from Michael Peirce all about wine and viticulture, from Tim Petersen and Keith Cannon about cattle, ranching, and marketing, from Dr. Isaac Mpanga about programming for small-scale farmers, and received a fabulous tour from Ashlee and Sharla Mortimer. 

The Farm Bureau Grill Team served an amazing lunch from the grill.

TUESDAY- Virtual
Teachers stayed home and joined us online to learn about wheat production from our very own John Boelts, Yuma farmer and Arizona Farm Bureau First Vice President. AZ Queen Bee also gave the teachers a lesson on bees and her sweet honey. Speaking of insects, teachers learned about more of our beneficial insects and pests and how agriculture uses integrated pest management programs, and the role biotechnology has played in eradicating the Pink Bollworm. Precision agriculture, ag technologies, and the science of agriculture were on display as teachers were taken virtual into the Bayer Marana Greenhouses. 

It may have been 118 degrees, but that could not keep our teachers off the farm! Watermelons with Rousseau Farms, cattle feeding at Heiden Land and Cattle, and the birth of a calf at Grandview Dairy filled the morning. Carrie Mayfield treated the teachers to a fabulous on-the-farm lunch and education on onion transplants. A sweet treat of flavored milk and a tour of milk processing at Danzeisen Dairy rounded out the day. 


Teachers headed back to their homes and computers for the final day. Dates, nuts, greenhouse gases, and a sustainability panel rounded out the event. 

Editor’s Note: Arizona Farm Bureau is honored to serve on the Summer Ag Institute Committee and help in the organization and execution of this educational experience! For more information about Arizona Farm Bureau’s Ag in the classroom go to azfb.org and select “Programs.”