November 24, 2020

CLASS ACT: MaxYield Teaches Local Students About Ag

Photo courtesy of Algona Upper Des Moines

Photo courtesy of Algona Upper Des Moines

Pop quiz—where’s one of the few places corn was growing in Kossuth County in late April and early May this year? Mrs. Goodman’s classroom at Bertha Godfrey Elementary School in Algona.

“The kids were so excited about this,” said Diane Goodman, who taught 36 students in the prep kindergarten class. “They talked about it for weeks.”

This unique learning experience grew out of an innovative educational partnership between area businesses and the Algona public school district. Through field trips and guest presentations, students in each grade level (through fourth grade) had the opportunity to learn about local companies, including MaxYield Cooperative.

The seeds of Mrs. Goodman’s corn-growing project were planted in the fall of 2012 when her class visited MaxYield’s Algona location and learned what happens to the grain that farmers deliver to the elevator.

“Touring the elevator was a ‘wow’ experience for the kids,” said Goodman, who grew up on a farm and appreciates the opportunity to help her students learn about agriculture. “For months afterward, whenever the kids saw a MaxYield location, truck, or other piece of equipment with the cooperative’s logo, they’d tell me, ‘Mrs. Goodman, we saw MaxYield in our town!’”

Students wear MaxYield hats with pride

To keep the momentum going, Goodman’s son, Eric, a specialist with SciMax Solutions, visited the students’ classroom in the spring to help them learn even more about Iowa agriculture. He spent about 45 minutes with both the morning and afternoon prep kindergarten classes to talk about tractors, including their various colors and why some tractors have tires while others have tracks.

He also showed the children a picture of horse-drawn farm equipment to demonstrate how much agriculture has changed. “They had no idea what a horse-drawn plow was,” said Goodman, who enjoyed seeing the corn that the students had started from seed in their classroom. “It was fun to see their reactions as we went through the lesson.”

The corn offered a good way to explain basic plant biology and illustrate why farmers use crop protection products such as fungicides, which are a “medicine” that keeps the corn healthy, as Goodman explained. The seedlings also offered a starting point to discuss the many uses for corn and soybeans grown in Iowa. “Many of these kids have no farm background, but they were intrigued and asked a lot of questions,” Goodman said.

Each 45-minute session passed quickly, added Goodman, who handed out MaxYield hats to each student. Many of the kids wore their new hats to t-ball games this summer, noted Diane Goodman, who has found innovative ways to include MaxYield in her curriculum.

“There are so many ways to incorporate agriculture in the classroom. For example, the kids wanted MaxYield for the letter ‘m’ in our alphabet books. We’ve also tied this into our reading lessons.”

Learning lessons that can last a lifetime

Working with the prep kindergarten class has been a fun experience for MaxYield. “We were honored to be part of this program and want to help get more kids interested in agriculture,” said Diane Streit, MaxYield’s human resources director. “We’re always happy to work with local schools to help students learn.”

Eric Goodman applauds the Algona school district for offering students the opportunity to learn from area business professionals. “I think it’s great that the school is doing this, and I’m glad to be part of it.”

These opportunities are invaluable, added Diane Goodman. “We live in a rural community, but many of the kids aren’t aware of agriculture or what’s going on in the fields and farms around them. It’s great to partner with MaxYield, and I definitely want to work with them again to build on the lessons we’ve shared so far.”

(Photo courtesy of Algona Upper Des Moines.)


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