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Bringing the farm to the classroom

Lisa Kopp

Lisa Kopp’s classroom is anything but conventional. Students in the Medford, Wis., teacher’s ag classes at Medford High School are learning about agriculture in a new 2,300-square-foot barn. What started out as a lofty dream is now a reality.

“When I was hired, I thought it would be wonderful to have a lab facility to bring animals into,” says Kopp. “With the overwhelming community support, the barn came to fruition in less than three years.” 

Having a barn on school property is a first for Wisconsin. Medford Cooperative was involved from the start, offering planning support and expertise. The cooperative applied for a CHS Seeds for Stewardship grant, which matches cooperative contributions to projects spearheaded by communities. Together, Medford and CHS contributed $2,000 toward the program. 

“Linking kids with agriculture is really important,” says Chip Cortney, general manager, Medford Cooperative. “We are always looking for ways to leverage our funds and our influence in the community. This partnership with CHS is a great example of doing that.” 

Classes in the barn began in September 2018 and the impact is sure to last far into the future. 

“About 250 students take ag classes here each year,” says Kopp. “Every student has a story and a passion. Some kids learn through bookwork, while others need hands-on applications. The barn has given us a great opportunity to do both and the students really thrive in this setting.”  

The Medford barn project is one of more than 150 local community projects supported by CHS Seeds for Stewardship. Learn more at chsinc.com/stewardship.