HAMMONDSVILLE -The Edison School District's extensive FFA program is more than just about "cows and plows," according to agriculture instructor and FFA adviser Chuck Cline.
Cline said the student organization, which now only goes under the title of FFA, includes everything from learning about cutting-edge agricultural techniques to public speaking, said Cline.
"It's now an agriculture science class," said Cline of the FFA. "There are many directions (a student) can go. Our program has three areas of emphasis."
GETTING READY — Students enrolled in the Edison High School’s FFA program take a minute to prepare the school’s greenhouse for spring. Those involved are, from left, Cory Plunkett, Melody Pergi, Austin Williston and Hunter Sweat. The program is more than just “plows and cows,” according to FFA adviser Chuck Cline. -- Mark Miller
The first includes classroom instruction, and "That's where we learn about animals, plants, math, the science behind agriculture and related topics," said Cline.
He said students enrolled in the organization group into forestry teams and "learn about the life cycles of trees, forest management, ecology and other related topics."
Cline said the classroom instruction is state-of-the-art and geared toward students learning all the modern aspects of agriculture.
FFA, the actual student organization, is the second aspect of students studying the modern science of agriculture, Cline said.
"This is where we apply what we've learned in a contest," said Cline. "The contest is called a career development event."
The contests include contestants from the school enrolled in the program competing against other chapters of the FFA, both on the state and national levels, said Cline.
"Our forestry and wildlife FFA career development teams won the state competitions," Cline said. "We got to compete in forestry on the national level."
Students study the diverse science of agriculture to see if they would be interested in majoring in any of the subjects in college, said Cline.
"That shows them there are careers and jobs out there (in agriculture)," he said. "There are also other areas of career development that we do."
Cline also said students enrolled in the FFA program also learn skills needed in the workplace, such as leadership, job interview skills, public speaking, agronomy and livestock competitions, sales presentations and even parliamentary procedures under Robert's Rules of Order.
"It's not just about farming," he added.
The third area of study in the program includes supervised agricultural experience, and "These are project-based," Cline continued.
This aspect of career development includes students job shadowing or working for someone, he said.
"The No. 1 industry in Ohio is agriculture," said Cline, adding the high-tech agriculture jobs are out there for those with the proper education. "(This program) get students to begin planning for a career. It also encourages students to know the business side - not just classroom experience."
The school even has a greenhouse, where students enrolled in the program can learn directly how plants grow, Cline added.
"We've built a greenhouse as a learning lab," he said, adding students save the plants they've grown, take them home and then do the economics on how their plants would do in the marketplace.
"We also do a lot of charity work," continued Cline, adding the school's FFA program raises funds through an annual tractor show, with the proceeds being donated to a worthy cause. "I'm not the one in charge (of the event). I'm just the adviser."
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