Ohio students can visit pig farms without leaving classroom

Staff report

COLUMBUS — Ohio students can visit farms without ever having to leaving their classrooms through a series of Virtual Field Trips to Ohio Pig Farms, offered throughout the 2015-16 school year by the Ohio Pork Council and Farm Credit MidAmerica.

The unique, interactive experience transforms ordinary classrooms into virtual pig farms as students and teachers video chat live with, and have their questions answered by real Ohio pig farmers using Google Hangouts. Farmers, along with an OPC representative, show their farms and share what it takes to raise pigs, from pregnancy through birth and growth to market weight.

The program is being expanded after positive results and feedback from a pilot program last spring, where three Ohio pig farmers welcomed 934 students from 25 school to their farms.

“This program gives student and teachers who would otherwise never visit a farm the opportunity to interact with modern agriculture in a way that can be applied to a wide variety of educational subject matter,” said Jennifer Osterholt, OPC’s director of marketing and education.

The field trips are open to all grades, but are specialized to help fourth- and fifth-grade classrooms meet educational requirements and standards in Social Studies and Science. Ohio FFA students may also participate in the program to gain insight while exploring modern swine production.

Classrooms have three options to join the virtual field trips: an interactive, live session; watching a live feed of a field trip; or watching a prerecorded field trip.

Teachers are encouraged to learn more and sign up at ohiopork.org/fieldtrip or by contacting Jennifer Osterholt at josterholt@ohiopork.org or 614-882-5887.

Staff report