BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — The Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom program will produce new equine content, thanks to a recent grant from the Illinois Equine Research and Promotion Board.

During the Illinois Horse Fair, representatives from Illinois Equine Research and Promotion Board awarded grants to 11 organizations.

“Our 12-member board chooses organizations with projects that can benefit the entire horse industry statewide through education, research, or service to the community. Introducing horses as livestock, working partners or companion animals to hundreds of thousands of children and their teachers in urban, suburban or rural schools can expand one’s understanding of history, science, art, literature or any other school subject at every grade level,” said Denise Maxwell, chairperson of the IERPB.

“We love projects that have a wider, perhaps future, affect on the requesting organization, the local community and the Illinois Horse Industry. We count on the Farm Bureau to understand and support the equine industry just as it does the corn, soybean or pork industries through their Agriculture in the Classroom programs.”

IAA Foundation Director Susan Moore was on hand to receive the grant. In total, $10,000 was awarded to Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom to support costs related to a new Horse Ag Mag.

“Ag Mags continue to serve as a cornerstone publication of the IAITC program, where we can focus on education as a tool to enhance and better promote the equine industry in Illinois,” Moore said.

Each Ag Mag is developed by IAITC educational staff and includes lessons which meet a variety of Illinois State Learning Standards. A print run of 130,000 Ag Mags bundled in classroom packs of 30 typically lasts three years in distribution.

Funds help provide resources at no cost to local teachers and educators to use throughout the school year. Lesson plans and materials connect agriculture through common subjects such as language arts, math, science and social studies. Last year, the IAITC program reached close to 700,000 students and more than 41,000 teachers.

Plans for the new Horse Ag Mag include a historical look at the importance and implications of horses, careers related to equine and animal care and information on breeds and related activities.

“Students k-12 need to think critically about all aspects of animals, agriculture and the environment. Therefore, it is important to provide necessary materials and teaching strategies to assist teachers and students in understanding the breadth and changing scope of the equine and agricultural system,” said Kevin Daugherty, education director for IAITC.

“Most importantly for this project is that teachers and students understand how horses are raised, cared for and what they contribute to agriculture and the economy both today and throughout our state’s history.”

The Illinois Equine Industry Research and Promotion Board is an Illinois not-for-profit entity, organized to provide research, promotion and education for the equine industry in Illinois.

Authorized by the enabling legislation, the Equine Promotion Board collects a voluntary assessment — to the end purchaser only — on equine feed purchased in Illinois.

Run by a 12-member board of directors, the Equine Promotion is responsible for the collection, monitoring and disbursements of the equine checkoff funds.

The mission of the IAA Foundation, Illinois Farm Bureau’s charitable arm, is to support Illinois farm families and the future of agriculture through education. Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom is the top funding priority of the foundation.

The mission of Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom is to teach Illinois children agriculture’s importance and the vital role it plays in their lives and society.

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