Jason Hardin is a biology and environmental science teacher at Lincoln High School in Gahanna, Ohio. This was his first trip to Commodity Classic, and he wasn’t sure what to expect. Hardin said, “Ag isn’t my primary background, so a commodity to me was human capital such as farm equipment and related technologies. I was amazed at how many other types of technologies were present at the Commodity Classic in relation to big crops such as soybeans, corn, wheat, and sorghum.”

Hardin appreciated the willingness of people at Commodity Classic to share information and resources with him and the other teachers. “I think that I have been able to make several authentic real world connections that will open up all kinds of doors for my students.”

The most eye-opening part for Hardin were the different technologies that address all of the different approaches available to growers, such as drones used as a precision tool, bacterial root treatments that promote soil health, genetic enhancements to increase crop yield while decreasing the need for chemical supplements, sulfur and carbon soil treatments extracted from coal ash, and research associated with the use of cover crops to retain water and nutrients in soil.

Hardin has already begun using the connections that he made at the event to apply for grants to enhance his classroom and school district. He also plans to have several of the professionals that we met at Monsanto, Bayer, and Dupont Pioneer come into his classroom and talk about the technologies they work with and the career opportunities in their field.

A side benefit of the trip was getting to know the other science teachers he went with, said Hardin. “Not only did I make connections with industry and education professionals, I also feel that I made a couple of friends along the way - Anton Kilburn of Global Impact STEM Academy and Donna Meller of Pettisville High School are fantastic teachers that possess a passion and perspective that I am lucky to be able to draw on for the future. I want to thank The Ohio Soy Bean Council and GrowNextGen for the amazing opportunity!”

As a result of having gone to Commodity Classic, Hardin said, “I would want my students to know that Ag is not just overalls and hard work. Farmers are professionals that possess a passion about their industry. They know the world connection that food has and take pride in providing the means and resources to feed the world. I also would want them to know that the career opportunities in the Ag Industry are endless, even for those that did not grow up in the industry.”