Flat Aggie Visits a BEEF Farm!
Written by Josie Korte, 2023 AITC Intern
The Flat Aggie Adventures is a 6 series of newsletters informing youth about agriculture-related topics. The Flat Aggie Newsletter series originated in 2018 as a way to increase agriculture education among young students. This idea came from Flat Stanley which is an American children’s book series written by Jeff Brown. According to the Flat Stanley Project, “The goal of the project is to increase reading and writing skills as well as expose students to different places.” This goal was the same for us because we want to expose kids to different parts of agriculture while also teaching them new vocabulary and concepts.
This year our series will inform students about different parts of the beef industry; careers, handling, breeds, cow/calf, feedlots, and processing are all part of the beef industry! Each of the newsletters focuses on an important sector of the beef industry. Newsletters include accurate facts and photos. Students can use Flat Aggies to explore and learn about different parts of the beef industry.
Our Flat Aggie Adventures newsletter series allows students to use STEM-based skills. Teachers can implement these skills into their core curriculum in many different ways and can be utilized by students of all ages. These newsletters will introduce students to new vocabulary terms, information about sectors of the beef industry, fun facts, and Flat Aggie will intrigue them to learn more. Here are a few ways you can incorporate Flat Aggie newsletters in your classrooms:
Ways to utilize Flat Aggie:
1. Print it off and have students write and highlight key points.
2. Print and laminate for multiple uses.
3. Keep the newsletter in online format and send to the students or display it in front of the class.
Ways to integrate Flat Aggie into your curriculum:
1. Guided reading time
2. Morning bell ringer
3. Science time
4. Individual reading time
5. Research project
7. High Steaks Beef Competition
Discussion topics for integration:
1. Identify the STEM careers involved with growing corn and soybeans.
2. Discuss how advances in agriculture have changed production over time.
3. Explore supply and demand and how it relates to our grain industry.
4. Ask students to identify key ideas.
5. Discover the different stages in the life-cycle of an Iowa commodity.
Edition 1 focuses on cow/calf production! Flat Aggie explores calving season, weaning and taking care of babies!
Edition 2 focuses on cattle feedlots. A feedlot or feed yard is a large fenced in area where cattle are kept and fed on a diet of grains until they are sent to be processed into meat. Flat Aggie tours a feedlot to learn all about the history and production of cattle for beef.
Edition 3 focuses on beef breeds. There are three main breeds of beef cattle in Iowa! Flat Aggie tours around Iowa and the United States to explore the differences. Cattlemen look for certain characteristics when considering genetics!
Edition 4 focuses on beef processing. Flat Aggie learns about pre-handling care and how stress can impact the quality of meat. It is important to keep the cattle calm and healthy before being processed. Did you know 98% of the beed cow is utilized after being processed?
Edition 5 focuses on cattle handling and careers. Flat Aggie discovers that there are many different careers within the beef industry. He also explores the proper way to handle cattle to ensure the safety of the farmer and cow.
Edition 6 focuses on nutrition for both the animal and human! Flat Aggie explores what goes into a feed ration for the cattle and how beef provides humans with essential nutrients!
Download the complete series here: