Kenan Fellows Program partners with USDA and local Farm Bureaus to lead innovation in agricultural education

RALEIGH, N.C. – The Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership at N.C. State University is partnering with the USDA, N.C. State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Bayer’s crop science division; and the Carteret, Alamance and Surry County Farm Bureaus to develop and empower teacher leaders who will raise awareness of agricultural practices, research and career pathways for students.

The two-year project, Develop the State of Ag, is supported by a $133,988 USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) grant and contributions from the three Farm Bureaus. Six exceptional secondary educators from the Carteret, Alamance-Burlington, and Surry school districts will be selected for the project, which will provide them with the industry connections, immersive work experiences, and professional development for designing innovative educational resources/programs and the leadership capacity to empower other educators.

The teachers selected for this project will be named in May as part of the 2017–18 cohort of Kenan Fellows. Beginning in June, they will spend three weeks working alongside mentors in their county Farm Bureau office and with local agriculture businesses. They will also have an opportunity to participate in cutting-edge research as part of a week-long exploration of N.C. State’s poultry science lab with Dr. Matt Koci and at Bayer’s facilities in Research Triangle Park. In the second year of project, they will work with the North Carolina’s Farm Bureau’s Ag in the Classroom initiative to develop resources and strategies to improve agricultural literacy.

“Although the focus is on developing teacher leaders, the ultimate goal is to fuel student interest in agricultural sciences and hopefully inspire some of them to pursue careers in these fields,” said Elaine Franklin, director of the Kenan Fellows Program.


About NIFA: The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) provides leadership and funding for programs that advance agriculture-related sciences. NIFA applies an integrated approach to ensure that groundbreaking discoveries in agriculture-related sciences and technologies reach the people who can put them into practice. Information:

About the North Carolina Farm Bureau: The North Carolina Farm Bureau is a not-for-profit farm organization whose goal is to be a voice for farmers and rural people across the state of NC.

About the Kenan Fellows Program: The Kenan Fellows Program is funded by the generous support of its many corporate, education and foundation sponsors. Established in 2000, the program is a K-12 education initiative of the Kenan Institute for Engineering, Technology & Science at N.C. State University, and is the largest (science, technology, engineering and math) STEM-focused teacher leadership program in North Carolina. Visit to learn more.