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Hope Ashburn speaks to MCBOE for FFA Week

Posted on Friday, March 15, 2024 at 9:00 am

 

LACIE SILVA

Editor

 

During ‘FFA Week,’ local Future Farmers of America (FFA) instructor Hope Ashburn spoke to Marion County’s Board of Education, presenting recent accomplishments and activities of the program.

The FFA program emphasizes the significance of the agricultural, leadership, and service-based activities in which FFA members participate nationwide, including Career Development Events where students compete to demonstrate skills acquired through agricultural education.

Ashburn addressed the members of Marion County’s board of education to emphasize this significance. She highlighted the importance of the Veterinary and Animal Science Program of Study, noting that there is currently a class of 14 members in the Agri-Science program. Ashburn expressed the hope of expanding the program by adding two classes next year, allowing for two sections of Agri-Science. Additionally, she mentioned plans to introduce new areas of study within the FFA program, including Small Animal Science in the upcoming year, followed by Large Animal Science, and Veterinary Technologies in subsequent years. The aim is to further enhance the educational opportunities provided by the FFA program and continue its success in educating students.

Ashburn shared her enthusiasm for the progress and future of the FFA program, emphasizing its hands-on learning approach. She highlighted how students engage in classroom learning and then apply their knowledge at partner farms within the county. This real-world application allows them to transcend the classroom walls and gain practical experience in agriculture. Ashburn also mentioned a poster display created by students, covering various careers in agriculture and providing relevant information about them.

One of the notable lessons involved learning the mechanics of animal cells and constructing mini candy animal cells. Due to the lack of an agriculture building and the age restrictions for farm visits, Ashburn demonstrated growth-promoting hormones using oranges and her own ‘row grow gun’. She expressed excitement about the engagement of students and the interest shown by the assistant principal during the demonstration. Ashburn expressed a desire to incorporate more hands-on learning activities into the curriculum, such as a forage and equipment field day where students could experience farm equipment in a real farm environment.

The class also participated in a livestock industry display board contest, showcasing different careers in the livestock industry. The winning board was displayed at Tractor Supply. Additionally, the class has welcomed multiple guest speakers representing various agricultural careers, providing insights into potential career paths in agriculture, credit, and technological studies.

Ashburn emphasized her goal of introducing students, especially those unfamiliar with agriculture, to individuals and organizations supporting local farmers in Marion County and the Sequatchie Valley. She underscored the importance of agriculture in society and government. Finally, she mentioned companies providing funding and guest speakers discussing their careers, highlighting agriculture as an enduring and indispensable industry.

The Marion Tribune – March 14, 2024