SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO)– A new agricultural education program is getting a helping hand thanks to a large grant.

This is the first school year where agricultural education is being offered within the Sioux Falls School District. To help the program grow, they were awarded $10,000 from the CHS Foundation to help fund a variety of hands-on projects in the classroom.

Today these students are learning about the anatomy of fish. But soon, they will be getting to learn about animals and other aspects of agriculture first hand, thanks to funding from the CHS Foundation.

“We are very excited. It is going to give our students opportunities to really see what production ag is like,” said ag teacher Andrew Jensen. “Some of the things that we are going to purchase with the tunnel is a high tunnel greenhouse, a farrowing pen and some other miscellaneous small animal things like some rabbit cages to give our students those hands-on opportunities that they may not get elsewhere.”

“He had a really compelling vision for what he wants to ag program to be, it’s a really exciting program, it’s the first in Sioux Falls, South Dakota’s largest school district, so I think the novelty, the newness of the program there was an exciting opportunity,” said Megan Wolle, senior director of stewardship at CHS Inc. and president of the CHS Foundation.

CHS is the largest farmer owned cooperative in the country and they are passionate about providing resources to students interested in agriculture.

“So that mission of developing this next generation of ag leaders is so critical for us because we need students choosing agriculture as a career path and we know not enough students are being exposed to agriculture, not enough students understand the corporative system, we are pretty passionate about as a farmer owned cooperative so we want that opportunity to introduce students to ag education earlier,” said Wolle.

Building a better ag education program in the city of Sioux Falls.

“It’s really going to lay the foundation for our ag program. We are hoping to be able to build an ag building with some lab space and some animal space, so this is really going to give our students an opportunity to really kick start in the ag program and then hopefully build the ag program up student wise, especially through those hands-on opportunities,” said Jensen.

Jenson hopes to have the equipment to begin the class’s pig farrowing project by March. When the snow melts, they plan to build the high tunnel space.