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VIDEO: Celebrating National Teach Ag Day by Hearing from an Ag Teacher

There are days set aside to offer recognition for various foods, states, safety measures and careers. While we can’t possibly write blog posts about all of them, Thursday March 15 is a day that needs to be acknowledged. It is National Teach Ag Day. It’s the day set aside to acknowledge the work teachers of agriculture do every day of the school year and to pause and think about the importance of that job. It’s also a great time for students to give thought to pursuing a career in ag education.

Teach Ag Day LogoI didn’t grow up in agriculture so I didn’t have high school classes where we talked about farming and other areas of agriculture. I didn’t have the benefit of college level classes in plant genetics or molecular biology. In fact, I was well into college before I ever even consider agriculture at all. But in schools across rural America and in some cities, the need to teach agriculture has been recognized and embraced. That’s where you can find ag teachers preparing students for high-demand careers in cutting edge industries like biotechnology, renewable energy, engineering, food production, and more. They also teach students how to be leaders and prepare them to take on the challenges of the next generation.

These are some of the some of the people we can thank for encouraging students–who are good in science, engineering, business, and more–to consider agriculture for their future. Recently while I was at a weed management seminar in Illinois, I just happened to sit down next to Bill Waggoner, an assistant professor of agriculture at Kaskaskia College in Centralia, Illinois.

Bill was nice enough to take time to talk with me about some of the things he and his students are involved in. I talked to him during FFA Week for high school and was looking forward to the collegiate meeting and the end of the semester so students would be getting practical experience. He said the future is bright for students wanting a career in agriculture because demand is currently outpacing people entering the job market. That’s a unique occurrence in today’s economy.

Bill Waggoner, an assistant professor of agriculture at Kaskaskia College

If you would like to know more about ag education, or talk to teachers of agriculture, there are a couple of great online options:

  • Social Media Discussion — #AgEduChat is a bi-weekly Twitter-moderated conversation that brings together former and future agricultural science teachers, as well as any others interested in agricultural education, to discuss issues and topics surrounding ag ed. #AgEduChat is held on Sunday from 7-8 pm EST. Make sure to follow @AgEduChat and you can see what’s happening by looking at the Twitter search string #AgEduChat. #AgEduChat is moderated and run by Drew Bender (@drewbender), an agriscience teacher from Ohio. Feel free to contact him with any questions regarding the #AgEduChat conversation or Twitter. The chat also has a Facebook page for AgEduChat to provide reminders about the chat.
  • The National Council for Agricultural Education which has a number of resources for teachers.

Did you have an ag teacher who made a difference for you? What would you tell a student who’s considering being an agricultural educator?

1 Responses to "VIDEO: Celebrating National Teach Ag Day by Hearing from an Ag Teacher"

  1. I can relate, I didn’t grow up with a traditional agriculture background either. My parents were both raised on farms in the sand hills of Western Nebraska. I lived on a farm in Nebraska until I was four and we moved to Arizona. The reason for our move was my dad had hay fever really bad and the doctor said a dry climate would help. We moved a few years later to Colorado, after a couple of years as a delivery milk man my dad got a job milking cows outside of town. This was my first real experience on a farm; we joined 4-H and had sheep as one of our projects.
    Well, quite a few years later now living in Missouri, I was inspired by my children’s agriculture teacher to return to school myself and become an agriculture teacher. I was a paraprofessional in our school, when he came as a first year teacher. My son was a senior and one of my daughters a freshman. He asked me to go along as a female chaperone for FFA National Convention. What a great experience for me as I was never in FFA but, I was seeing what the program had to offer my children in enhancing their leadership skills, and learning hands on skills. I wanted to be that person that was able to pass this on to other students.
    Well I found out that I had to completely start over on classes as my previous degree only transferred one class. I took on the challenge and after three and a half years at Missouri State University graduated in December 2011. Since I student taught in the fall and didn’t have a job for second semester I decided to work on my masters. I am currently applying for every opening for next year and looking forward to the school that wants to take a chance on the old lady first year teacher.

    Does anyone else have a similar experience? How can you make yourself more marketable?


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