State Summary 2015 — Idaho
We continue to work cooperatively with the Farm to School program through the Idaho State Department of Agriculture. Materials have been developed for the classroom which enhance this effort. Idaho AITC continues to be a well of materials, CD's, DVD's and other items that are provided through commodity groups in Idaho. These items are housed at the AITC office and distributed to schools and teachers when requested.
Major Program Accomplishments or Outputs
We continued to offer our “sponsor a teacher” program for the summer weeklong tour. This year we had a total of 34 sponsors and some willing to sponsor more than one teacher. We had a number of first time sponsors. This year are tour was a Base Tour. Meaning we base out of one location for four days. The agreement with Agrium for the Seed Survivor Educational Trailer was very positive for the region of Idaho where the trailer traveled. The local RAM dealership arrangement continues to grow and we cooperated on someAg Awareness/Education Day" activities at the dealership. We saw strong growth in our Ag license plate program. We did a mass mailing to all county assessors with information about the AITC program and feel there has been a direct correlation and increase in sales due to these efforts. We continued the Farm To School Program in Idaho. This joint effort between the Dept.of Educ.and AITC has resulted in a federal grant that allowed us to sponsor some chef and food service tours.
Major Program Impacts or Outcomes
The impact of Ag Expo’s is growing each year. We have developed a form that help groups who want to have expo’s to complete for the solicitation of help, financial assistance and materials. The program started primarily with FFA Chapters and this year we added two new groups with the North Idaho Fair sponsoring a field day expo for 5th graders and a combined three county Extension effort for National Ag Day. Idaho AITC staff have become the resource coordinators for all commodity groups in Idaho. Materials for various grade levels are placed in our office and when requests come we compile the teacher and student packet for each group based upon what they will be teaching. We have also been asked to advise on “teaching stations” for several of these expos. This coordinating role has allowed AITC to have a broad exposure, recruit teachers into our summer workshops and tours. The impact of the Expo’s is having a community resource effort to teach the importance of agriculture. Once the door is opened, relationships developed we are hearing stories of agencies, agribusinesses and farmers/ranchers returning to assist in student education about agriculture after the expo is over. Our workshops took on a new look this year as we initiated what were calledOn the Road Workshops". The teachers were loaded on a bus for a two day experience in agriculture. We provided each teacher with two handouts - one for class copies and one for resources. Throughout the tour we distributed and talked about various AITC and commodity resources. We filled the orders at the end of the first day and the teachers took them home on day #2. They were very well received with increased enrollment. Teachers enjoyed meeting, experiencing and having a more hands on approach to the summer workshops.
The Idaho AITC program is housed at Association Management Group (AMG) in Meridian, Idaho. AMG provides association management and legislative lobbying for over 39 different agriculture groups in Idaho. Rick Waitley, State AITC Director is President of AMG. Waitley grew up on an Idaho farm and received his BS from the University of Idaho in AgEd. Waitley taught high school agriculture before joining the staff of the National FFA in Alexandria, VA. Waitley returned to Idaho and worked for the Idaho Dairymen's Association and in 1977 became a registered lobbyist. Waitley's first contract with Idaho AITC was in January 1994. Waitley is married to a retired Kindergarten teacher who taught for 35 years. Rick Waitley received the Governor's Award for Excellence in Agriculture in the area of Education/Advocacy in 1998. Waitley serves on a variety of boards and commissions in Idaho and has received numerous awards and recognition for his investment in Idaho agriculture.