Fueling Learning — Erica Schwoeppe
Fueling Learning with Erica the Educator
Terry and Erica Schwoeppe started out as feed store sweethearts. They both grew up in agriculture, and now their kids, ages 12 and 14, are getting that same opportunity as their family farms together in #AgriReady Franklin County near Labadie. Terry farms fulltime as the Schwoeppes raise Angus beef cattle and grow wheat, corn, beans and hay.
Erica is involved in a variety of agricultural pursuits; one of the most exciting is her position as an educator for Agriculture Education on the Move™ (AEOTM). Through ten weeks of hands-on, interactive lessons, this program increases elementary-aged kids’ understanding of agriculture through interactive educational experiences in and outside of the classroom.
Erica loves talking with kids about the things she loves about agriculture and the farm.
“I am blessed to live this every day. The kids will say to me, ‘So you’re a real farmer?’ and I feel like they are putting me up on a pedestal with firemen and police officers,” Erica said.
Erica makes special efforts to bring things from the farm for kids to see and touch when she shares ag lessons. “The corn lady” title came from the day she brought a full-sized corn stalk to school straight from the corn field. Though she’s known for her corn, her favorite lessons to teach are about beef. The kids enjoy it when Erica brings in calf bottles, feed samples, ear taggers, as well as an occasional bottle calf, to school for the kids to experience.
According to Heather Fletcher, AEOTM program director, Erica is an irreplaceable asset to AEOTM as an advocate of the industry.
“Erica has been involved with Agriculture Education on the Move™ almost as long as the program has been in existence,” Heather said. “Her knowledge, classroom experience, and, most of all, her passion as an advocate for Missouri agriculture make her such a valuable asset to the program and Missouri Farmers Care. Whether she is making butter with hundreds of students at a time, visiting with families at a STEM night, or leading a bottle calf through the halls of an elementary school, Erica's heart is in her work as an educator, and we are so lucky to have her on the team!”
For the Schwoeppe Family, agriculture is work as well as play. Terry and son Jacob enjoy pulling their White 2-135 tractor at local tractor pulls. Erica and daughter Avery enjoy spending time with their horses on trails and in the arena barrel racing and pole bending. Erica is a liaison to the Missouri Horse Council in her position as the Missouri equine commodity committee chairwoman for Missouri Farm Bureau, a partner of Missouri Farmers Care.
To learn more about AEOTM visit Ag Ed on the Move.