Brad Hay and Paul King Receive Kentucky Farm Bureau Excellence in Ag Literacy Award

Posted on Dec 15, 2020

Brad Hay and Paul King, teachers at Simons Middle School in Fleming County, are the recipients of Kentucky Farm Bureau’s 2020 Excellence in Ag Literacy Award.

KFB’s “Excellence in Ag Literacy Award” is designed to recognize and reward teachers who excel in their efforts to incorporate agricultural concepts throughout their core academic curriculum. Nominations were made for numerous pre-kindergarten through 12th grade teachers who use their classrooms to help students understand the value of agriculture as it impacts their personal well-being economically, environmentally and socially.

For winning the award, Hay and King received $500 cash and an expense-paid trip to the National Ag in the Classroom Conference June 28-July1, 2021 in Des Moines, IA where they will represent Kentucky.

Hay and King developed Cougar Hill Farm, a hands-on learning environment at Simons Middle School allowing students to explore various agricultural concepts, while gaining needed real world skills.

To view photos of Cougar Hill Farm visit: https://kyfb.ag/CougarHillFarm

Cougar Hill Farm has four primary objectives: supporting student learning and growth in math and science; developing community partnerships that open career pathways for students; promoting a healthy food initiative which includes understanding the science of growing nutritious foods; and utilizing a learn-by-doing approach to make learning fun.

Features of Cougar Hill Farms include:

  • An aquaponics lab where students learn the science of cultivating greens, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers and berries using fish waste as the primary fertilizer.
  • A honeybee apiary allowing students to practice real world skills while also maintaining the health and growth of the hive. Students learn to care for the bees and hives, extract honey, produce honey and wax products, and sell honey in the community.
  • A greenhouse allowing students to germinate seeds, calculate the number of plants that will be sold to the public, and investigate plant growth and how changing variables will lead to better plants.
  • A compost program illustrating recycling through a food waste approach. A partnership with a local grocery store has allowed students to compost various green scrap and use the compost in the greenhouse program.

The Cougar Hill Farm program increases student exposure to innovative agricultural concepts, while opening career pathways students may not have considered. As part of this program, students are required to participate in several public speaking opportunities, which include teaching lessons on agriculture to students at Flemingsburg Elementary School.

As part of the program, students write articles for the local newspaper and make posts on social media to keep the community updated on Cougar Hill Farm activities and experiences.

Creating strong community partnerships is another important part of the Cougar Hill Farms program.  Organizations that have recently visited the program include: AppHarvest, Cowan Station Honey, Edward Jones, Enviroflight, Fleming County Conservation District, Ken's Fresh Foods, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, Kentucky Farm Bureau, Kentucky State University, Masters Acres, Morehead State University Browning's Orchard, Peoples Bank, and Rumpke Waste and Recycling.