SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Students in the state’s largest city will now be able to learn about South Dakota’s largest industry.
This is the first time agriculture education is being offered within the Sioux Falls School District. Kids will be able to learn about everything from horticulture and animal science to ag leadership.
The Career and Technical Education Academy is growing in a new direction.
“The Sioux Falls School District may be composed of students living in a city, you know, we don’t have per say farms in our school district boundary, but agriculture is all around us,” said Josh Hall, Principal of the CTE Academy. “So exposing the students to opportunities in agriculture will hopefully help supply the industry workers and expose students to some of those passions that they didn’t know they have.”
The shop you see behind me will be turned into the ag education classroom, where students will have the opportunity to attend six different ag courses, ranging from small animals to agricultural leadership.
“There’s a lot of transferable skills in many of the courses that students will be able to take and apply to whatever career path they end up choosing,” said Hall.
Jerry Schmitz, executive director of the South Dakota Soybean Association and the South Dakota Check-off says ag classes and the FFA prepared him to become the industry leader he is today.
“I wanted to farm after going through some of the classes and some of the crops judging. It also gave me some background in being able to speak with the public and sharing ideas and working with a team,” said Schmitz.
A curriculum he believes is long overdue in Sioux Falls.
“Even if an individual isn’t planning a career in agriculture, we eat every day. And it’s good to have folks know where that food comes from, how its grown, why farmers do what they do,” said Schmitz.
Bringing the state’s largest industry, to the biggest city.
“Animals on campus, that will be a whole new thing for us, but an exciting adventure at the same time,” said Hall.
Another major part of any ag education program is FFA. The school district plans to incorporate it into the program, they just aren’t sure when that will happen.