Most careers in modern agriculture and related sciences require education beyond secondary school. Outstanding agriscience and agribusiness educational programs beyond the high school level of instruction are more important today than ever before.
The Outstanding Postsecondary/Adult Agricultural Education Program Award is sponsored by Syngenta.
|Region I||Great Basin College
Spring Creek, Nevada
Instructor: Gary Sundseth
|Region III||Southwest Wisconsin Technical College
Instructors: Peter Hoffman and Don Tucker
|Region V||Barnwell County Career Center
Blackville, South Carolina
Instructor: Mindy Sandifer
|Region VI||Manheim Central High School
Instructors: Deb Seibert, Heather Anderson and Bart Gill
Great Basin College is located in the heart of gold mining country, the second largest in the world. Agricultural production is limited to ruminant animals due to the desert environment. Recognizing the need for higher levels of agricultural education in the area, Gary Sundseth was hired in 2003 as the lead agriculture instructor and program developer. Since that time, Great Basin College has expanded it's coursework to include 17 lower-division courses, alongside 7 upper-division courses.
Through his efforts at Great Basin College Sundseth has established several student internships within the mining industry, mirroring the concept of the SAE. Just as the SAE is a critical component for high school agriculture students, the internship component is a critical learning tool for undergraduates. Through internships, students gain necessary skills for the workforce and make contacts within the industry.
The Ag Power and Equipment Technician Program is based out of Southwest Wisconsin Technical College and is a two year technical diploma course which trains studetns in the repair of agricultural equipment. Graduates of the program are employed as technicians and parts personnel in ag dealerships across the state.
Instructors Peter Hoffman and Don Tucker continually strive to challenge the students to learn at all levels by using a variety of teaching methods ranging from web-enhanced materials, to live repair work. Through actual repairs, students are able to experience and interact with customers in a controlled setting.
Students are exposed first-hand to the requirement of an entry-level technician through an internship class. Each student must seek out an internship and obtain it through resume building, interview skills and experience. This has proven to be an excellent experience for both the student and the dealership. Partnerships such as this assist in the development of successful employees within the ag mechanics industry. The program remains visible within the community through open-house events, presentations, and volunteer work.
After nearly two decades, the Barnwell County Career Center agricultural program was reestablished in 2001. Two years later a Young Farmer and Agribusiness Chapter was reestablished, at which point they began to offer educational workshops to local farmers and agribusiness men and women. The program has grown from serving 9 students, to 62 students that participate in four different courses of study. These courses of study cover the areas of small engines, animal science, horticulture and wildlife.
Though students must complete written work for each area of study, instructor Mindy Sandifer believes in the importance of following writting assignments and lecuture up with hands-on learning opportunities. Sandifer's role in adult education is quite different than that with young adults. When working with the adult education program Sandifer serves as a facilitator who advises the chapter.
The agricultural sciences department at Manheim Central High School currently serves anywhere from 650 to700 students per year and have the largest Young Farmers group in the state, consisting of 210 members. Deb Seibert, Heather Anderson and Bart Gill serve as instructors for the program. The Adult Agriculture Education program partners with the Young Farmers to provide an excellent outreach program to the rural farming community. The National Young Farmer’s theme is “a Young Farmer is anyone willing to learn” and the Manheim group portrays this well with a group of agriculturalist ranging from 18 to 90 years old. The program offers a variety of meeting topics, member recognition and community interactions to meet the diversity of its members.
Adult educational meetings have been developed in the areas of agriculture production, agriculture law and financial planning at Manheim. They also hold two dinner meetings each year so that their members can obtain recertification credits for their pesticide applicator license. Seibert, one of the agriculture instructors at Manheim, says that “[her] daily personal teaching goal is to make every student, young or old, feel like their time in the classroom made a difference in preparing them for the future.”