“Come on up kids!” 6th graders virtually jump into the combine for harvest

Bruce Tiffany with his combine
Farmer Bruce Tiffany gives students a behind-the-scenes tour of harvest on October 7, 2021.

What happens when 200 students virtually jump into a combine with a farmer? They quickly engage and ask a lot of great questions!

“How much does your combine cost?”

“How fast can your combine go?”

“Do combines really drive themselves?”

“Why do you have so many iPads in your combine?”

Without leaving their classroom, 6th graders from Redwood and Renville County were able to experience an afternoon in the combine this harvest. Farm Camp Minnesota connected their classrooms through Zoom to farmer Bruce Tiffany who was in the field combining.

What did students see/hear/learn during this Farm Camp?

Combine technology
Bruce shared what he learns from his iPad in real time as he harvests. “It’s kind of like an end of the year test for farmers. We get to see how good we did this year,” Tiffany explained.

Sharing about his lifelong passion of “harvesting sunshine and putting it in a form people can use”, Bruce Tiffany, farmer from Redwood Falls, MN, quickly engaged students by connecting what he does to what they learn in school. Bruce showed how his operation uses math, science, and technology each and every day! His tour was broken into 4 main parts: the corn, the combine, how harvest works, and the people Bruce works with to make farming easier. He shared about local ag careers and how they help his operation and how students can step into those positions in the future!

As many in southern Minnesota know, this year’s weather was quite a challenge and farmers were unsure of the results they’d get. Bruce explained how weather can impact his yields but also what he does as a farmer to create the best possible conditions for his crops. Students heard about how you can do your best to be proactive and set yourself up for success regardless of what you cannot control (like weather).

“My favorite part of the Farm Camp tours is when farmers make real world connections and give advice that they learn as farmers but can be transferred to many different situations that students will run into in their futures,” commented Ann Vote, Farm Camp Program Director.

Why were only 6th graders invited?

Last spring, Bruce shared about his corn/soybean planting process during 5th Grade Ag Day organized by the Ag Committee from the Redwood Area Chamber of Commerce and Farm Camp Minnesota. Learn more HERE about the virtual pivot Farm Camp helped create to ensure that 5th Grade Ag Day was a success!

As we moved into harvest season, Bruce wanted to connect with the same students from the spring to show the results of spring planting and explain the process of harvest. He contacted Farm Camp to see if it was possible to engage the same students. Farm Camp quickly created a contact list that involved the 6th grade educators in Redwood and Renville County. All classrooms were invited to jump in the combine for harvest with Bruce! There were 13 educators from 9 different schools who accepted the invite and were excited for the virtual tour.

How did this tour connect with school curriculum?

When educators said “yes” to the Harvest experience, they received curriculum connection lessons from Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom and a Career Connection lesson from Farm Camp Minnesota. Educators were encouraged to use the Growing America lesson for students to get baseline knowledge about the corn plant parts and basic crop production. Following the tour, educators received a Career Lesson that tied directly to Bruce’s presentation on local careers that help him with his farm processes.

Through this 3-day, highly interactive experience, students walked away with greater knowledge of corn production and appreciation of the farmers that grow the crops in the fields around their communities.

Want to create a tour like this for students near you?

Farmer filling grain cart
Bruce filling up the grain cart.

It is the mission of Farm Camp Minnesota to create events and opportunities like this 6th Grade Harvest Tour across the state of Minnesota. We know that students learn best when they can hear directly from the source, get their hands dirty and have their questions answered on the spot.

If you want to create a Farm Camp experience for students near you, contact us today! Farm Camp is absolutely free! We provide the organization, set-up, preparation and communication to make your experience an incredible learning opportunity for the students involved. You help with farm/ag business connections and we partner to create an engaging, educational and dynamic experience!

Learn more about Farm Camp MN by checking out the “What is Farm Camp” video on our homepage www.farmcampminnesota.org

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