May 19, 2023

As the school year winds down, we take time each Spring to celebrate the work done by the amazing men and women who teach our kids. Teacher Appreciation Week is an opportunity to focus specifically on those individuals who have impacted students throughout the year. Here at California Farm Bureau, we’re proud to invest in teachers year-round through California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating youth and educators throughout the state about the importance of agriculture in their daily lives.

As President of CAFB, I also have the honor of serving as President of the Board for Ag in the Classroom.  CAFB 1st Vice President, Shannon Douglass, serves alongside me as 1st Vice President of CFAITC, and we are joined on the board by farmers, ranchers and other industry leaders. Ag in the Classroom remains the leading agricultural literacy education organization in California, partnering with numerous agricultural and educational organizations since its inception to build a collective of resources unequalled by any other non-profit agricultural organization in the state.

At the helm of day-to-day operations for Ag in the Classroom is long-time Executive Director, Judy Culbertson. Judy started with Ag the Classroom more than 30 years ago, and under her leadership and with the support of farmers, ranchers and agribusiness throughout the state, has continued to grow and build upon amazing educational programs. Through its efforts to provide curriculum resources, grant opportunities, teacher trainings and student recognition programs, Ag in the Classroom has touched every school district in California, reaching over 900,000 students and 12,000 educators last year alone. One of its most visible programs is the annual Imagine this… story writing contest. The contest allows students from multiple grade levels to display their creativity by telling real or imagined ag-based stories. Winners and their families are invited to the State Capitol to attend Ag Day at the Capitol, read their stories in front of attendees and legislators from their districts and meet Secretary Karen Ross of the California Department of Food and Agriculture. They also receive copies of their stories compiled and illustrated in a published book.

A variety in learning is at the heart of the Ag in the Classroom program. Resources provided to teachers include agriculture-based curriculum for all grade levels in core subject areas, as well as hands-on projects and activities that are grade-level appropriate. Last week, Ag in the Classroom hosted a virtual Farm Day with more than 20,000 students and 800 educators from across the state participating. This initiative took farmers and ranchers directly into classrooms, teaching students about the agriculture products that enrich and affect their lives every day. Ag in the Classroom also recently developed a “Life on the Farm” unit for Pre-K/TK students, training 260 registered teachers on how to include ag in their early childhood education and teaching students that not all farms look like Old McDonald’s.

Through the generous support of donors and partners, these events and all other Ag in the Classroom resources, are offered to teachers and classrooms completely free of charge. In 2022, 37 educators were awarded more than $47,000 through annual grants, 22,000 California resources were downloaded from the National Ag in the Classroom matrix and another 17,000 directly from Ag in the Classroom is dedicated to educating youth throughout California about the importance of agriculture because we know that science-based learners become science-based decision makers and these students are our next generation of leaders, voters and community members.

Please join me in supporting this amazing organization. Click here to donate.

To learn more about the programs and resources provided by Ag in the Classroom, visit