Understanding where food comes from: The importance of ag teachers

Local News

HARRISBURG, S.D. (KELO)– Right now, South Dakota has a shortage of ag teachers.

It’s an important role, because the classes not only teach students about the state’s top industry, students also learn leadership skills and build valuable life skills.

For Harrisburg ag teachers, there is no career they would rather do.

“There’s such a variety and everything is hands on so it’s not a lot of lectures its not a lot of talking, instead it’s doing things and doing things with those students that they enjoy doing,” said Josh Christiansen, FFA Advisor and Ag Teacher.

“I really enjoy seeing my students achieve their goals of when they become a leader, they win a contest, or even just do well at a contest. Seeing the joy on their face is really meaningful to me,” said Tara Fastert, FFA Advisor and Ag Teacher

Less than 10-percent of the students here at Harrisburg actually come from production ag backgrounds.

“So it’s really important that they understand where their food is coming from and how important it is for farmers or why farmers are so important at all and the job that they do,” Fastert said.

“It helps students get out of their comfort zone and it gets them to try something new that they never thought they would do,” said Karlee Bezug, Harrisburg FFA Vice President.

“FFA has really helped me as a person because as a freshman I was really scared to like speak in front of people, like I wanted to be the kid in the back of the class I didn’t want to speak at all, and through FFA and agriculture classes I learned to be more comfortable around people and actually have a conversation with like random strangers that I meant in everyday life,” said Danesa Willson, Harrisburg FFA President.

“It’s kind of fun to see the students develop throughout their high school careers but its probably even more fun to see them after they’ve gone to college for a couple years to see how successful they are,” Christiansen said.

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