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January 23, 2024
by Carson Rudd
Planting season is one of my favorite times. Seeing farmers going into the fields, working the soil, planting seeds and hoping for a successful harvest is exciting. The hope, time and resources that farmers put into each individual seed reminds me of agriculture teachers and their students.
Farmers nurture their seeds throughout the summer and early fall. Whether they’re applying fertilizer, irrigating or scouting, they support the growth of each seed. Teachers put time and effort into each student to see them grow into agriculturists and leaders. The growth that teachers witness each day is what pushed me to someday be in the classroom.
Growth in the classroom is not only something I have visually witnessed, but also something I have physically experienced. I was blessed to be in an agriculture department with two amazing FFA advisors and teachers who cultivated growth in students. Mr. Steve Keown is a teacher who wants to learn just as much as his students, cheers on his members and helps grow his students into knowledgeable leaders of the agriculture industry.
I took a precision agriculture course my senior year because it was the only ag class that fit into my schedule. To say I wasn’t looking forward to this class would be an understatement. That mentality changed the first day of class. Mr. Keown was excited and fascinated with the innovations and practices being implemented into our industry. This fascination and passion equipped his students with knowledge that aided in our growth and prepared us for careers in agriculture.
Without dedicated teachers, the future of agriculture will never be secure. The students whom teachers help grow every single day are the crop that will lead the future of agriculture. But that correlation poses a challenge for our industry. There is a shortage of agriculture educators nationwide — so how do we tackle this challenge?
First, we must encourage current students to take the leap to major in agricultural education, and then support local FFA chapters and ag programs in our communities. Teachers ensure that our industry has a crop ready to take action that is filled with talent, hope and leadership. Agriculture education ensures our industry continues to thrive.
So, encourage your kids, grandkids, neighbors and friends to participate because we need every single student we can get in an ag classroom. That’s where growth happens.
Rudd is the 2023-24 Indiana FFA state reporter.
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