Ag classes grow with name change, instructor says

June 04, 1993|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Staff Writer

Vocational agriculture classes aren't just for future farmers anymore.

"Agricultural education has changed dramatically," Liberty High School agriculture teacher Clare E. Linfield told members of the Agribusiness Club yesterday. "We realized we didn't have the traditional ag students we once had and that we needed a new perspective."

In order to attract more students from nonfarm families, the traditional four-year, four-class program was broken into eight semester-long classes covering specific topics such as horse management, veterinary care and wildlife management.

The program -- now known as agricultural science and technology -- also relates agricultural practices to something the students know and understand, such as raising a dog, trimming trees or keeping a garden.

"They think ag only applies to farmers, but we know it applies to anything," Ms. Linfield said. "To call it something other than farming doesn't hurt farming. We all know what it is."

The result, which the school system considers successful, has been increased enrollment.

"We now have a lot more students than we used to have," Ms. Linfield said. "Those students are more enthusiastic and more goal-driven than those we had before.

"They aren't taking the class because the school wouldn't let them take five gym classes this semester or their buddies were taking it."

Students are also exposed to a wider range of career opportunities when speakers make presentations to the class, she said.

"They didn't think there were careers as veterinarian assistants or farm animal consultants.

"This has opened a lot of eyes," Ms. Linfield said.

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