AP NEWS

Future Farmers of America, CTE students are enrolled in agricultural sciences

February 22, 2018 GMT

Where would we be without farmers? Probably pretty hungry. Luckily, there’s the Future Farmers of America who are learning the science and techniques of the farming trade at West Shore Community College, where Career & Tech Education students are enrolled in agricultural sciences.

In addition to learning general knowledge of the trade, students can choose their own path when it comes to what they want to do in the class.

“Students get to choose between doing a research project, they can do entrepreneurship so they can choose to start their own business through the class and then they can do a placement or an internship,” said CTE Agriscience Instructor Jorhie Beadle. “We also do a little bit with animal genetics. We have a student that is also breeding rabbits. It’s a good way to see that science in action, and so we go over the life cycle and reproduction and also genetics.”

One student, Brianna Visser, decided to go the entrepreneurship route by breeding roosters and hens to give birth to chicks, while also using them to lay eggs to be available for sale.

“I purchased a rooster at the beginning of the year and I started with 15 hens, so I have a flock of 16 birds right now,” Visser said about her project. “I’m trying to breed them, currently I haven’t hatched any chicks out … I’m trying to expand my flock.”

As a student in the program, you automatically become a member of the Future Farmers of America, which students say has granted them additional opportunities to gain experience in the agricultural industry.

“(It’s good to spread) the idea of agriculture and being a part of that and trying to help the community get to know agriculture and how it helps them,” said Adelyn Ackley, a junior at Hart High School who is in the class. “You can go to conventions with the FFA, and you get to know other people and other agriculture students around the world. You get to figure out and come up with ideas of how to spread the idea of agriculture.

“It gives good experiences for careers. There’s several different things you can do.”

Ackley said she has already found that the CTE class and being a member of the FFA has allowed her to have a first-look at her personal interests.

“Right now, I am interested in bird farming for exotic birds,” she said. “I think that’s really cool. With my SAE, I’m raising peafowl, and I’m experimenting with that and figuring out how much they cost to raise, how much they eat and how much work they take. So it’s really been nice to experience that.”

Ackley said she comes from a family of fruit farmers and has always enjoyed being a part of that.

“I just really like the outdoors and enjoy farming, so I took the CTE class and I could become an FFA member,” she said. “We can actually expand on what we are interested in and what we might do in the future. I think a lot of students should try it out if they are interested, because it is a lot fun.”