It has been 1,842 miles since my last blog and things are a buzz with county Farm Bureau’s having their annual meetings, the looming year end membership deadline and farmers talking about what is going to happen with the corn and soybean crops this year. School is back in session and I could see by my Facebook feed that there were a lot of excited kids ready to head back. I’m the one that is often stuck behind the bus, running about 10 minutes late to get to my next meeting.
School is near and dear to my heart as I came to Farm Bureau from the classroom. It all started back at Spring Valley Elementary and in kindergarten with the one and only Mrs. Webb. She was (and I’m sure still is) a pretty awesome teacher. Someone that taught you the simple things in life like to share and be kind, put things back where you found them and clean up your messes. The one who instilled in you the love of learning and the person you want to be like in the classroom.
I’m sure you can remember the one or two teachers that inspired you.
I can think of one particular group of people who work hard every day to help inspire students and instill in them a love of agriculture and learning. Ag teachers and FFA advisors. You can find these teachers throughout Wisconsin and in classrooms near you. Maybe you have already built a relationship with your local ag teacher or have volunteered to serve as a judge or a coach. Many of you know that these teachers not only spend numerous hours in the classroom teaching subjects ranging from animals and food to wildlife and mechanics but, they prepare students for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through FFA and supervised agriculture experience programs as well. These teachers often give up much of their own free time to engage students in opportunities outside of the classroom and experiences they may have never had if not given a chance by their ag teacher and FFA Advisor. These teachers are truly building the future of the agriculture industry.
Since a new school year has started, I encourage you to contact your local ag program and build a relationship with your ag teacher. So, what should you say? Introduce yourself. Let them know you are interested in learning more about the program and/or offer assistance if you can. This year alone, there have been over 50 changes in ag programs in our state. So, if you have a new teacher in your school district, invite them to join you on a tour of your community and take the opportunity to introduce them to others involved in the agriculture industry. So, how do you make the connection? Here are a few ideas to get you started!
- Volunteer as a guest speaker in the classroom.
- Serve as a mentor to a student in their Supervised Agriculture Experience program (SAE).
- Offer tours of your farm or agriculture business. Explain how you got interested in the agriculture industry and the steps you took to be successful.
- Work with your local teacher to form an advisory council and/or FFA Alumni or decide to become a member of your local FFA alumni affiliate.
- Engage the community in conversations about the importance of agriculture in your county.
- Work with the ag students and FFA members to prepare a presentation for the school board and/or community forum about the Ag Department and FFA program.
- Assist with any fundraisers the department or FFA chapter may be working on.
- Serve as a chaperone on an FFA trip.
- Have your county Farm Bureau organize an agricultural career day, sponsor students to attend Farm Forum or provide scholarships for graduating seniors.
Remember that they are teachers so it may take some time for them to return your call or email! Now is the time to make that connection and advocate for the future of agriculture!