KFB Foundation for Agriculture Excellence in Teaching

(Jena) Do you remember what you wanted to be when you grew up? For Barb McCaffree she always knew she wanted to be a teacher. Little did she know that she would be able to combine a love of teaching and her background in agriculture into her dream job at Blue Stem Elementary in Leon, Kansas. McCaffree is a 4th grade teacher and was also a 2015 recipient of the Kansas Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture Excellence in Teaching Award. Having been born and raised in northwest Kansas on a cow/calf ranch, McCaffree is able to integrate agriculture into her lesson plans flawlessly. In addition to cattle operation, McCaffree’s father had several acres of farm ground. McCaffree says she loved the lifestyle on the farm and learned a lot by working with her Dad. She attributes her passion for horses and cattle to growing up on the family farm. Following in her father’s footsteps McCaffree showed horses in the American Quarter Horse Association. She was also involved in Little Britches Rodeos, Kansas High School Rodeo Association and competed in college rodeos. She began teaching when she moved to Butler County after college and her family soon had their own cattle. McCaffree wanted her own children to have the same opportunity that she had as a child. Respect, work ethic, responsibility, dedication and teamwork are just a few of the lessons learned on a ranch, she says. Her school has a farm on the grounds that is home to a calf, goat, chickens, ducks and a rabbit. Students have chores they must attend to every day as well as maintain a checkbook that monitors expenses and deposits from the farm and greenhouse. Her students also incubate chicks, plant vegetables and flowers in the greenhouse and they transplant some of the plants into their raised garden beds and community garden. The students also play a large role in their Spring Plant Sale and are a vital part in its success. These are just a few of the many tasks and activities involving agriculture in which McCaffree’s students are active participants. It is McCaffree’s hope that all students at some point in their education learn about agriculture and understand that agriculture affects everyone. She emphasizes a need for students to appreciate the role that farmers and ranchers play in their lives. McCaffree attended the three-day Kansas Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom Summer Institute in Manhattan in 2013 and attended the National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and Louisville, Kentucky, in 2014 and 2015. To read about the work McCaffree is doing in her classroom and to learn about other Teacher Features visit the Kansas Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom website at ksagclassroom.org and click on the Teacher Feature sidebar.

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