Students Nationwide Journey Inside Smart Farms to Experience Technology that Powers Modern Agriculture

LIVE from Deere & Company World Headquarters in Moline, Illinois on April 5, the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance® (USFRA®) and Discovery Education host virtual event that explores the innovation behind sustainable food production.

PR Newswire - CHESTERFIELD, MO (March 17, 2016) – Irrigation systems managed from iPads, animal nutrition tracked by computer chips, and tractors that drive using GPS are only a few examples of the ways farmers and ranchers use technology to produce food in a sustainable manner. With each generation becoming further removed from agriculture, Discovering FARMLAND, a comprehensive education program created by U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance® (USFRA®) in conjunction with Discovery Education, is providing high school students nationwide with a firsthand glimpse into contemporary agriculture through The Smart Farm: Where Technology and Innovation Meet live virtual field trip on Tuesday, April 5, 2016 at 1:00 p.m. EST.

Available at no cost, this live virtual event hosted from Deere & Company World Headquarters in Moline, Ill., will transport classrooms across the country to a hog, corn and soybean farm to see today’s modern agricultural practices in action. Students will also hear from fourth generation farmer Ryan Veldhuizen, who was featured in James Moll's award-winning documentary, FARMLAND, as he discusses technology and innovation on today’s smart farms. Students and educators can register for the 45-minute event and submit questions ahead of time to be answered live at: www.discoveringfarmland.com/virtualfieldtrip.

“Technology drives all aspects of American society, and modern farms are leading this revolution in a very important area – food production,” says Mace Thornton, American Farm Bureau Federation Executive Director, Communications, and USFRA Communications Committee Vice Chair. “Through this virtual field trip to the farm, technology also will create an opportunity for interactive transparency between high school students and the men and women who grow food for their families.”

Discovering FARMLAND’s standards-aligned curriculum guides, lesson plans and interactive resources have become increasingly popular with high school teachers and students who are using these timely tools to gain real-world insights about where their food comes from. The program covers key issues in modern agriculture including: how technology has transformed the industry, challenges farmers face such as weather and growing conditions, common stereotypes around farmers and ranchers, and market supply and demand. The curriculum brings to life many of the themes covered in the FARMLAND film, and teaches students about food choices, sustainability, entrepreneurship and antibiotics, among many other topics. The program’s website, www.discoveringfarmland.com launched on November 9, 2015.

“Discovery Education is proud to continue our partnership with U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance to offer classrooms nationwide this unique learning opportunity that supports students’ understanding of STEM applications in the real world,” said Lori McFarling, Senior Vice President, Discovery Education. “The Smart Farm virtual field trip challenges students to think critically about the relevance and importance of science and technology in our everyday lives while also reinforcing key concepts of food production, sustainability and innovation.”  

To learn more about the virtual field trip or Discovering FARMLAND, visit www.discoveringfarmland.com/virtualfieldtrip.

About U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance® (USFRA®)
U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) consists of more than 90 farmer- and rancher-led organizations and agricultural partners representing virtually all aspects of agriculture, working to engage in dialogue with consumers who have questions about how today’s food is grown and raised. USFRA is committed to continuous improvement and supporting U.S. farmers and ranchers’ efforts to increase confidence and trust in today’s agriculture. To learn more, follow USFRA on Twitter at twitter.com/USFRA. Visit our Facebook at facebook.com/USFarmersandRanchers and YouTube at youtube.com/usfraonline.

About Discovery Education
Discovery Education is the global leader in standards-based digital content for K-12, transforming teaching and learning with award-winning digital textbooks, multimedia content, professional development, and the largest professional learning community of its kind. Serving 3 million educators and over 30 million students, Discovery Education’s services are in half of U.S. classrooms, over 40 percent of all primary schools in the UK, and more than 50 countries. Discovery Education partners with districts, states and like-minded organizations to captivate students, empower teachers, and transform classrooms with customized solutions that increase academic achievement. Discovery Education is powered by Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), the number one nonfiction media company in the world. Explore the future of education at www.discoveryeducation.com.

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Contact:
Paul Spooner, USFRA Affiliate Relations and Ag Communications Manager, pspooner@usfraonline.org, 636-449-5079.
Elizabeth Hillman, Discovery Education, Elizabeth_hillman@discovery.com, 240-662-2664