Rio ag educator wins Outstanding Teacher Award from WFBF

Wisconsin State Farmer
Lori Bongert was awarded the Outstanding Teacher Award for 2020 because of her efforts in agriculture education.

The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation awarded Rio, Wis. teacher Lori Bongert the annual Outstanding Teacher Award for her work in agricultural literacy.

The fourth-grade teacher was recognized because of the many things she's done to teach her students about agriculture, including having farmers, Alice in Dairyland and others from the industry visit the classroom, as well as create partnerships with local businesses allowing the students to work directly with corn, soybeans and cranberries.

"Lori has been working closely with Columbia County’s Ag in the Classroom Program for many years with the essay contest and using our materials," said Darlene Arneson,  Ag in the Classroom coordinator for WFBF.

Bongert previously received a grant to build a micro-wagon for her school district, which teaches students how plants grow. She will be the state's nominee for the National Excellence in Teaching Agriculture Award and is also receiving a $500 sponsorship either for classroom use or to attend the 2021 National Ag in the Classrom Conference in Des Moines, Iowa.

Bongert is a graduate of University of Wisconsin-Platteville with a degree in education and earned her master's from National Louis University. She is originally from Poynette, Wis., where she grew up on her family's hog farm; she also served as Fairest of the Fair in 2002, which she says helped her develop for passion for agriculture and teaching it to others. She has taught fourth grade in Rio for more than a decade.