National Teach Ag Day
Event focuses attention on the need for agricultural educators in the United States.
John Duncan, a veterinarian with the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service in Wyoming, clips a tiny piece of a third eyelid from a sheep while students watch.
courtesy Stephen Ausmus/Agricultural Research Service
On March 24,
National Teach Ag Day, agriculture teachers all over the United States
will be introducing students to an exciting and demanding career – their own.
agricultural educators are in short supply all over the United States,
with an inadequate number of agricultural education graduates being produced
each year to fill job openings. Agricultural educators prepare students to fill
jobs in one of the only major sectors of the U.S. economy that grew in 2010. Last
year, agriculture exports increased by 11.9 percent to $107.5 billion dollars. USDA
studies show that every billion dollars in agricultural exports supports more
than 8,000 jobs. (1)
Ag Day is a day to celebrate the contributions agricultural educators make in
their communities and in the lives of their students, and is also a way to
encourage young people to consider a career in agricultural education.
agriculture programs are too important to lose, especially in the current
economic climate,” says Jay Jackman, executive director of the National
Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE), the organization that facilitates
National Teach Ag Day.
“A lack of
agricultural educators means we’re cutting off the supply of employees to the
agriculture industry at the wellhead,” Jackman says. “If there’s no one there
to prepare students for these careers, then one of the industries that has been
a corner post of American success will begin to weaken.”
programs teach the science and production of food, feed, and fiber, as well as
subjects like natural resources and veterinary science. Students in agriculture
programs learn a wide variety of skills and concepts through these subjects,
including science, math, communications, leadership, management and technology.
education follows a unique model – lessons are delivered in a hands-on way that
helps students more fully understand concepts, retain learned information, and
apply material to real world situations. Agricultural education also includes a
strong leadership component that helps develop students’ sense of responsibility
and civic service.
agriculture can be a smart and fulfilling career choice for students from a
variety of backgrounds. Many agriculture programs are strengthening the rigor
of their already science- and math-rich courses to meet the needs of an
increasingly technology-driven agriculture industry. Agriculture programs are
teaching students concepts that will not only allow them to produce food on an
unmatched scale, but also become chemists, geneticists or engineers.
urban areas is also a current agricultural education trend, leading to even
more employment opportunities for agriculture teachers. There are currently
many agriculture programs in large urban centers, and the opportunity to open
more is growing. Kimberly Fogle is a CTE
Agricultural Science teacher at W.E.B.
School in Baltimore,
Maryland This is the first year
for the agriculture program at her school.