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As FFA celebrates National FFA Week, the Missouri Institute of Cooperatives (MIC) announces its launch of a curriculum development project to provide current, comprehensive information for high school students to learn about cooperatives. Recently, new curriculum about agriculture management, economics and sales was created for Missouri teachers with funding provided by FCS Financial. The same learning solutions firm, Vivayic, is contracted to develop the cooperative curriculum for MIC. This allows MIC to take advantage of a platform already familiar to the teachers.

“As a cooperative, FCS Financial is honored to support this program,” says David Janish, FCS Financial CEO. “As Missouri’s largest ag lending cooperative, we are dedicated to helping agriculture and rural communities succeed. Providing educational opportunities and tools for our future ag leaders will help us meet that mission.”

MIC members will be directly involved with content development for the curriculum working closely with the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), the Department of Ag Education at University of Missouri and the Missouri Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association.

“MIC’s new unit of instruction on cooperatives, embedded into our newly developed Missouri’s Agricultural Management, Economics and Sales curriculum, will provide students the opportunity to develop a thorough understanding of the cooperative business structure,” says Leon Busdieker, Director of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources at DESE. “This project is an excellent example of how Missouri agricultural organizations and businesses are partnering with Missouri Agricultural Education Teachers to provide high quality educational opportunities for our students.”

The curriculum will be ready in July and showcased at the Missouri Agriculture Education Teachers state conference. Available for classroom use in the fall of 2016, the curriculum will include a four lesson unit on cooperatives with a classroom visit guide to facilitate presentations from local cooperative leaders, a workshop for Missouri ag education teachers to learn the curriculum and lesson plans, a cooperative month classroom poster and an e-learning lesson to engage students.

“Today’s youth are learning in many different ways than they did 20 or even 10 years ago,” says Matt Staley, MIC President and FCS Financial Vice President. “New curriculum that engages students with tools such as e-learning and provides the opportunity to hear presentations from cooperative leaders is essential to ensure they are prepared for their future.”

The project is made possible through generous donations from MIC’s members including FCS Financial, MFA Foundation, CoBank and rural electric cooperatives.

MIC is a non-profit membership organization dedicated to the development of education programs that provide a better understanding of the cooperative form of enterprise.  MIC’s membership is comprised of farm supply and marketing cooperatives, farm credit cooperatives and rural utility cooperatives.  

FCS Financial is a member of the Farm Credit System. The system is a nationwide network of cooperative lending institutions that provides credit and financial services to farmers, ranchers, rural residents and agribusinesses. With 100 years of agricultural lending experience, the Farm Credit System is the largest single provider of agricultural credit in the United States. FCS Financial serves 102 counties in Missouri through 21 office locations.

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