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.
I 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.
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.