This is the sixth in a series on this year's retiring ag teachers. Read about Pat Redden, Cambridge City; Don Sturgeon, Hagerstown; Beth Theobold, Delphi; John Jackson, Martinsville; and Kevin Haycox, Jasper, in earlier stories.
Clinton County farm boy and 10-year 4-H member Phil Carter didn't start out as an ag teacher, but soon found it to be his calling.
"I was Farm and Fleet's first management trainee in 1974, and did that for about a year and a half," he recalls.
Deciding to teach again, he taught two years at Casston, then replaced his own ag teacher who taught him, Bob Brinson, at Clinton Central. He taught there for 24 years. Over his career he also spent 22 years as a 4-H leader. He coached many winning teams at Clinton Central. Soils judging teams were among his most memorable.
"I enjoy learning and coaching about soils," he says. "There's always something new to learn. One year we made it to Oklahoma for the national contest because one of my students marked properties one way on his card and practices another, hedging his bet. If he had marked it all one way and marked it wrong, we wouldn't have made it."
After Clinton Central, Carter returned to take classes at Purdue, primarily in soils. He is close to having what he needs to be an accredited soil scientist. But instead of looking at soils full time, he returned to the classroom when a position opened at Sheridan in 2003. He's completed 11 fruitful years there, teaching both science and junior high ag. However, he coaches high school soils judging and crops judging, among other contests.
"It's been great for me here and I've learned along with the kids," he says. "When I look back and think about my biggest accomplishments, it has to be the kids I've seen develop that I taught. Several are PhDs today and many are highly successful. That is gratifying to think I had some small part in their education and growth."