SASKATOON, JANUARY 11, 2021 - Classroom Cattle, a new Canadian Ag Education program, allows the virtual adoption of a calf from Mortenson Farms Ltd. for the school year. Half of the classrooms get to virtually adopt and follow the development of a heifer calf and half virtually adopt a bull calf.
Founded in the fall of 2020 by Julie Mortenson, the first year of Classroom Cattle involves roughly 1280 students from 61 classes – 53 from Saskatchewan, four from Alberta and four from Ontario. Plans are now underway for year two. Mortenson Farms Ltd. is a grain and beef cattle operation located near Nokomis, Saskatchewan where Julie farms with her husband and his family.
“Participating classes receive physical learning materials such as ear tags and feed samples, as well as monthly updates on the life of their calf,” explains Mortenson. “One fieldtrip per class per school year to the farm is also included: although, due to current pandemic restrictions, this year’s field trips are all being conducted virtually through Zoom which still allows the ability to interact in real time and answer questions from the students.”
Virtual farm tours will remain an option for any class unable to make the journey to the farm in person.
Sign-up for Classroom Cattle opens to Canadian teachers in September each year and the program runs from October to May. Mortenson intends to have the program remain free to classrooms through industry sponsorship and fundraising.
Currently, funding support is coming from the Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association and the Canadian Agricultural Partnership Awareness Initiative along with some resource partnering with 4H Saskatchewan.
“The goal of the program is to connect children from across Canada with a Verified Beef Production Plus ranch in order to inspire curiosity and trust in agriculture and food production,” says Mortenson.
Sign up for the 2021/2022 school year will open in September 2021.
Interested teachers can contact:
Julie Mortenson at: