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Teach Ag News

Teach Ag Campaign News & Media Resources

Media Contact:
Ellen Thompson
National Teach Ag Coordinator

Is your state facing a shortage of agriculture teachers?  Are you ready to pull back the curtain and develop sustainable and effective strategies to recruit and retain agriculture teachers in your state?  The National Teach Ag Campaign is looking for up to 10 states who are willing to work collaboratively to address your specific needs and create a plan that works. For more information click here.  

The Teach Ag Campaign is making News! Check out our blog, newsletters and spotlights.

A Day in the Life of An Ag Teacher Blog
Join agricultural educators in all different stages of their career (from students to veterans) as they record the joys and trials of teaching agriculture

New Teacher News
It's tough out there! New Teacher News is designed to give tips and advice to agriculture teachers in their first couple years.

Teach Ag Update
Our monthly communication for all members of the Teach Ag Campaign

News Releases

3/19/2014 - CHS Inc Selected as the Host Site for the Fifth Annual National Teach Ag Day Celebration

7/30/2013 - CHS inc. Teach Ag Story

6/1/2013 - National Teach Ag Ambassadors 2013 Selected

4/5/2013 - CSX Becomes a Sponsor of the national Teach Ag Campaign

4/30/12 - University of Minnesota Agricultural Education Club Wins National Teach Ag Day Contest

3/29/12 - Three Outstanding Agricultural Educators Honored in Atlanta

3/19/12 - New Program Gives Urban Students, Fledgling Teachers Taste of Agricultural Education

2/29/12 - Virtual Event to Celebrate Agricultural Education Planned for March 15

2/27/12 - Alycia McLamb Selected to Represent Agricultural Education at 2012 National Teach Ag Day Virtual Celebration

2/27/12 - McKenzie Baecker Selected to Represent National Teach Ag Campaign at MANRRS Conference

2/20/12 - Agricultural Education to be Showcased in Washington, D.C. Public School During National Ag Week

2/15/12 - March 15 Marks Third National Teach Ag Day


Follow the National Teach Ag Campaign Coordinator, Ellen Thompson, as she shares the latest Teach Ag happenings.

National Teach Ag Campaign blogs

Best of Luck Ag Program

Congratulations to the Fairmont school district for approving an agricultural education program. In honor of National Teach Ag Day on March 15, here's a glimpse of how Ag Ed's three core tenants - rigor, relevance and relationships - will benefit your students, and ultimately your community, for years to come. Read More>>

Teacher by Choice, not by Chance!
As a former teacher of agriculture, I have truly grown to appreciate what each and every one of you does on a daily basis. I would hope that all of you know what powers you have, the powers to impact the lives of individuals who will guide the future of not only agriculture but also the world. It is critical that each of us realize that you truly do change lives of young people! Remember, we are a teacher by choice not by chance. Read More>>

Seeing the light come on...

When the concept, tool, or process was finally understood, it was seldom that the student verbalized their understanding. You could tell that they’d finally “gotten it” by the look in their eyes. It was a look of understanding, accomplishment and satisfaction. It was a very special moment that contributed to making them want to learn more. Often, this experience was what lit the lamp of enthusiasm and got the student on the track to leadership, involvement, and positivity. Read More>>

Why Teach Ag?
August of 1971, first day of high school for the class of “75”.  A young timid freshman, with his schedule tucked deep in one pocket and a school binder with the map of the campus clamped tightly in his hand walked across the Triangle trying to find his classes. Read More>>

Illinois Agriculture Education

Growing with two parents as teachers, high school math and middle school Physical Education, its very difficult for most to understand why I chose to become and agriculture educator. My path to this career is simple to me. I always loved being outdoors, working in the garden, and learning something new everyday that could actually be applied to my life. Read More>>

Ag Proud: National Teach Ag Day

The National Association of Agricultural Educator’s Creed opens with the statement “I am an agricultural educator by choice and not by chance.”  I am proud of the choice I made to become an agricultural educator. I guess one could say it was in my blood as my grandfather began an agricultural education program in Pine Grove, PA and instructed there until he retired. Read More>> 

Celebrate National Teach Ag Day by Hearing from an Ag Teacher
I didn’t grow up in agriculture so I didn’t have high school classes where we talked about farming and other areas of agriculture. I didn’t have the benefit of college level classes in plant genetics or molecular biology. In fact, I was well into college before I ever even consider agriculture at all. But in schools across rural America and in some cities, the need to teach agriculture has been recognized and embraced. That’s where you can find ag teachers preparing students for high-demand careers in cutting edge industries like biotechnology, renewable energy, engineering, food production, and more.  They also teach students how to be leaders and prepare them to take on the challenges of the next generation. Read More>>

Letter to the Editor: Ag Teacher Shapes Students' Lives

I would like to take the opportunity to thank my high school ag teacher, Mr. Chris Sheehan, for all of his hard work and dedication to the Red Wing agricultural education program and FFA chapter. Read More>>

Celebrate agricultural education on March 15
For the past few months, U of I agricultural education students have been planning events and activities leading up to National Teach Ag Day. Read More>>

Letter to the Editor: Ag Teachers, Programs Make a Difference

In recognition of National Teach Ag Day, March 15, 2012, I would like to take the opportunity to thank my high school ag teacher, Mr. Paul Lanoue for all he did for the school and community as the former agricultural teacher at Marshall Senior High School. Read More>>

A Mentor, A Teacher, A Friend
Read this story about the career of agricultural education and the need for agricultural educators in the Winter 2011 edition of FFA's New Horizon's magazine. Read the article>>

CHS Inc. Awards National Teach Ag Campagin Largest Single Financial Contribution
Inver Grove Heights, Minn.-headquartered CHS Inc. (Nasdaq: CHSCP), the nation's leading farmer-owned cooperative, has made the largest financial contribution ever to a special campaign focused on raising awareness for the need for more agricultural teachers in U.S. high schools. As a part of the CHS stewardship focus, the CHS Foundation is committed to investing in the future of rural America, agriculture and cooperative business through education and leadership development. Read more>>

Teach Ag Day Interview on Feedstuffs Food Link Food & Farm Radio Show

Jay Jackman and Julie Fritsch discuss National Teach Ag Day and the importance of agricultural education in the United States today. To download the interview, right click on the link and choose "save link" or "save target as," then save to your computer. Once the file is downloaded, you can listen in the mp3 player of your choice. Or you can stream directly from the website by simply clicking on the link. Download interview

Teach Ag Day Celebrates, Promotes

March 24 is National Teach Agriculture Day -- a day to celebrate and promote those agricultural educators within our school systems.

For many of us, it may be a day to remember an instructor who shaped our lives during those "early years" and gave us the passion for agriculture that has stayed with us for a lifetime.

For others, it will be a day to reflect upon all the friends we made during our agricultural instruction, whether they were from across the section, across the state or somewhere farther down the road.

However, it may be a day in which we stop for a moment to realize how vital agricultural education is within the entire realm of agriculture.

Many are concerned about educational budget cuts, yet it may be even more alarming to note that there is a growing shortage of people who pursue careers in agricultural education. Most students starting out at an agricultural college are instead choosing a more "glamorous" career in agriculture.

I wonder, though, if there could possibly be anything more glamorous then sharing one's passion for agriculture -- as well as developing that passion -- with young people?

Read entire post

FFA advisor Zelle: Teaching is about motivating students

While a lot has changed, much remains the same for Ron Zelle, an agriculture education teacher and FFA advisor at Nashua-Plainfield High School for 27 years. Zelle's mornings start in Plainfield where he teaches 7th and 8th graders computer technology. He then drives to Nashua where he teaches four high school agriculture classes, as well applied physics and a college level animal science class offered through Hawkeye Community College. Leadership development, record keeping, carpentry and farm business management are all topics in his courses. He's often practicing with Career Development Event teams before and after school. He might spend a Saturday helping a student complete an FFA degree or proficiency award application.

"Agriculture is changing, and it will continue to change, and these kids have to be ready for change," Zelle said. "They need to know about the resources available to them and how to evaluate those resources. They have to learn that they can't trust something just because it's on the Internet."

For more information go to: http://www.agrinews.com/ffa/advisor/zelle/teaching/is/about/motivating/students/story-3333.html

Milaca FFA advisors learn from students

Milaca High School students involved in FFA — past and present — are quick to say two of the main attractions of organization are its advisors. Doug Olson and Robert Skwira have been manning the helm of the local chapter for the past five years and in Olson’s case, since 1999. Olson teaches classes involving horticulture and the natural resources and plant sciences, whereas Skwira offers courses in mechanics, welding and small engines. With both teachers bringing experience from opposite ends of the agriculture spectrum, they offer a comprehensive knowledge base for their students. They are also able to delegate FFA responsibilities into their own areas of expertise.

“If you can call it areas of expertise,” Olson said, laughing.

The modesty and down-to-earth qualities each educator possesses are additional benefits their students enjoy. And the proof is in the healthy-sized membership roster the Milaca Chapter of FFA has experienced. But neither teacher would take the credit.

“Students do a lot of recruiting themselves,” Olson said. “And if a student breaks out of their shell to attend a meeting, we usually have them for four years.”

To read more go to: http://millelacscountytimes.com/2011/02/23/40419/

News Release
Ag Day and the Teach Ag Campaign Team up to Bring Awareness to National Shortage of Agricultural Educators
Ag Day and the Teach Ag Campaign announced today that they are combining forces to celebrate two very important things - American agriculture and the need for more agricultural educators.

National Ag Day on March 15th is about recognizing and celebrating the abundance provided by agriculture in the United States.  One key to that abundance has been a steady supply of people choosing careers in the agriculture industry.  Many people learned about those career opportunities in an agriculture program, whether at the high school level or beyond.

Agricultural educators not only expose students to opportunities in agriculture, they give those students the practical and academic skills they need to be successful – whether they’re going into the production, technology or science areas of ag. 

Download the entire news release

National FFA Week educates students about agriculture

Harrison and McCutcheon high schools will participate in National FFA Week next week, along with almost 7,500 other chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.Harrison's Nichole Parker-Webb, teacher and FFA adviser, said National FFA Week is educational and fun.

"We are trying to let kids know that agriculture is more than farming," she said. "We want to open kids' eyes a little bit about agriculture."

During National FFA Week, chapters hold teacher appreciation breakfasts, conduct Ag Olympics competitions, speak to the public about agriculture and volunteer for community service projects.At Harrison, events include game shows with agriculture questions, a dirty job day, muddy truck day, farmer/cowboy day, a petting zoo and down on the farm day.Harrison has 45 FFA members and more than 100 students taking agriculture classes.
Parker-Webb said the theme of National FFA Week is Infinite Potential.

"Harrison FFA members are the leaders of tomorrow," she said. "They are well-mannered, perceptive and willing to help others through community service.

For more information go to: http://www.jconline.com/article/20110216/NEWS0401/102160317/National-FFA-Week-educates-students-about-agriculture

Education Week via the AP
Agriculture Teachers in Shortage
A shortage of agriculture teachers has prompted the National Association of Agricultural Educators to launch the National Teach Ag campaign, which seeks to attract more people to the profession. A large number of agriculture education teachers have retired or are nearing retirement age, and agriculture classes remain popular ways for students to fill science requirements.

mysanantonio.com via AP
Missouri Bucking National Trend of Few Agriculture Teachers
(longer version)

NBC Action News via AP
Missouri Bucking National Trend of Few Agriculture Teachers
COLUMBIA, Missouri - National agriculture education officials have started a campaign to address a shortage of agriculture teachers, but the effort isn't necessary in Missouri.
The University of Missouri says it has seen a steady increase in the number of undergraduates majoring in agriculture education. The Columbia Tribune reports that this year, about 100 undergraduates are pursuing ag-education degrees, with between 80 and 85 of them interested in becoming high school ag teachers.

That comes in the face of a nationwide shortage that began several years ago and is likely to grow as more current teachers reach retirement age.
Ellen Thompson, coordinator of a Teach Ag campaign, says businesses are also starting to hire more ag students because of the skills they've learned -- keeping those people out of the classroom.

The Bismarck Tribune
A shortage of ag teachers means many opportunities





The National Teach Ag Campaign is an initiative of the National Council for Agricultural Education, led by the National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE). It is funded by the CHS Foundation and CSX as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.