God said, “It has to be somebody who will write lessons to teach their students each week, and remember that learning is best done by doing. Someone who will train teams, explain to kids about economic trends and current events effecting agriculture, help students apply for scholarships, balance program budgets and promote agriculture to the world. Somebody who will unwillingly enter into politics and research new technology, all for the sake of improving the industry as we know it. So, God made an Ag Teacher.”
This seventh paragraph of the Article “So God Made an Ag Teacher” by Kassie L. Davidson puts together a strong meaning that Ag teachers are a necessary creation by God in order to ensure the future of not only the Ag industry, but the world. When most people think of agriculture, they think of the typical stereotype, much like what is portrayed in the American gothic, the painting of the farmer and his wife. What most people customarily don’t think of is the products they use on a daily basis. From medicine to food to clothing, agriculture has a helping hand in nearly every product that is used by humans. Without agriculture, the world as we know it would be very different. Some of our favorite products would not exist. The problem is people who have no education in agriculture and are just left with misconceptions and misunderstandings. This is where an Ag educator, the strengtheners of agriculture, steps in.
Within a high school, there is no teacher like an Ag teacher. They can teach crop production, livestock evaluation, welding, wildlife management, and veterinary science all while keeping straight the leadership events, stock shows, and career development events that they will have students competing in. Agriculture classes are one of the only classes that apply what you learn to the real world. It also links together information that you have learned in other classes such as math or science and applies it to things like crop technologies and animal science. Ag teachers utilize the 3 circle model, which combines leadership, experiential learning, and classroom instruction. The combination of these three principles serves every type of learner, providing a full understanding of the subject.
Ag classes are often a huge factor in your career choice, with many students going on to continue their Ag education and pursue a job in one of the many different fields related to agriculture. Many students have their Ag teachers to thank for helping them find a SAE project, and develop it into a thriving career. A SAE is simply a supervised agriculture experience, and through their SAEs students have the opportunity to consider multiple careers within an industry, learn expected workplace behavior, develop speaking skills, and are able to apply academic and occupational skills in the workplace. Many students have taken an SAE project and developed it into a lifelong career afterwards.
With so many agriculture students continuing into the industry, one thing is for certain, they will be the ones to help extinguish the controversies. Some people oppose farmers and other producers due to their methods. Organizations such as PETA are constantly fighting against agriculturalists. Farmers are often labeled as inhumane, and the way animals are treated is seen as cruel. These assumptions are not necessarily true, and are frequently concluded by people who aren’t educated in our way of life. In order to fight against claims that can be harmful to the industry’s reputation, the industry must be strengthened as a whole. This is where we, as FFA students, can reap the knowledge and wisdom of our FFA advisors and spread it throughout the world.
The current world population is over 7.5 billion, with a net gain of one person every 12 seconds. The world is growing, and it’s growing fast. As the food, materials, and product need of the world increases, the Ag industry has to grow with it. With this growth, we need new technology and more individuals to help run that technology. The baby boomer generation is now starting to retire, creating several job openings that must be replaced to keep production up. Where will these new workers come from? Well hopefully, they are coming from responsible and knowledge agriculturalists that have a passion to continue the traditions of their ancestors. But we know we don’t live in a perfect world, so as agvocators we must help inform those that didn’t get the opportunity to grow up surrounded by many different aspects of agriculture. And hopefully, by sharing our knowledge and enthusiasm we create an interest in agricultural job opening just as our Ag teachers did for us.
Ag teachers strengthen the industry and the world by encouraging students to reach their full potential and teaching them as many skills as possible. Students learn about several career opportunities through Ag education. Most students don’t know how to take core classes and turn them into a career, but with Ag classes, students learn what it takes to be a veterinarian, a welder, a businessman or even an Ag teacher. Students are encouraged to pursue their interests and take them to the next level outside of school through Supervised Agriculture Experiences. Like I mentioned above, they are supervised by the Ag instructor, and they vary from student to student. Students with this background are more prepared for a specialized career, keeping jobs filled and the economy alive and well.
In 2012, there were 3.2 million farmers operating 2.1 million farms in the United States. This seems like a lot, but when you consider that the current US population is over 328 million, it doesn’t seem as impressive. With these numbers, we know that not everyone comes from an agriculture background. These people who don’t understand how much the industry affects them may have a lack of respect for the industry itself. Children who grow up in these environments could end up misinformed, creating even more misconceptions. This leads into those individuals joining anti-agriculture groups, such as PETA. These organizations work to demote agriculture as a whole. A majority of the people in PETA are misinformed about the methods that livestock are handled to make other products.
In agriculture classes, students learn why producers use certain practices and handle livestock the way they do. This increases their respect for producers. Even if the information learned in the class isn’t any use to their career, their newfound respect for producers helps them understand the struggle of farmers. They won’t be as quick to judge when they hear misguided headlines about agriculture. This improves the overall public opinion of the Ag industry. We as agriculturists, and even more importantly as FFA members, must continue to advocate even on after our years of membership have ended from this great organization. With the continued advocating from us and all the generations after us we can help to combat the misconceptions and misunderstandings that are had about today’s agriculture practices and there for continuing to strengthen agriculture as a whole.
And above all, we need to thank those that have taught us how and why the world needs such devoted individuals; we need to remember that our advisors are there to bale our communities together with the soft, strong bonds of sharing and commitment. And if you ever ask them if their job is worth the time, they would reply with a smile on their face and tear in their eye and say “Every day, I get to teach kids about God’s creations and to strengthen the agricultural ways of the world. I have the best job there is.” So, God made an Ag Teacher.
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