The CHS Foundation has awarded a $3.44 million grant to the University of Minnesota intended to transform agriculture education from kindergarten through higher education. The Foundation is funded by charitable gifts from CHS Inc., the nation's leading farmer-owned cooperative.
The gift is the largest ever awarded by the CHS Foundation and will support a comprehensive approach to impacting agriculture education and rural communities across the country.
"The CHS Foundation is committed to growing the next generation of agriculture leaders," said Linda Tank, president, CHS Foundation. "Together with the University of Minnesota, we are cultivating, preparing and helping agriculture leaders thrive now and into the future."
Agriculture continues to face a growing shortfall of graduates in that sector versus available jobs. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates more than 20,000 agriculture jobs are left unfilled annually. Today there are approximately 30 jobs in the ag industry for every one qualified individual.
The gift, and related programs funded by it, will develop strong leaders in rural America, engage youth in agriculture experiences and build a new agriculture education model.
Specific programs funded by the CHS Foundation grant include:
- Creation of the CHS agriculture education technology lab
- Exclusive support for AgCultures adventure learning project curriculum
- Integrating agriculture infused curriculum in K-12 classrooms
- Development of agriculture literacy programs in conjunction with 4-H and the Minnesota Youth Institute
- Creation of agriculture and science programs at the Bell Museum
"We are charting a new course for the future of ag education with new technologies, interdisciplinary curriculum and experiential learning that combine best practices in agriculture and natural resource sciences," said Brian Buhr, Dean of the College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences at University of Minnesota. "This critical support from CHS and the CHS Foundation will better prepare future agriculture leaders and educators while strengthening rural communities."
In 2015, the CHS Foundation gave $11.2 million to support the development of future agriculture leaders, improve agriculture safety and enhance rural vitality. For more information on the CHS Foundation go to CHSInc.com/stewardship.