MINFORD Things could not have worked out any better for the Minford-SCCTC-National FFA Organization. They are going to be able to learn farming up close and personal.
It was announced March 17 on Facebook, “We have been given the opportunity to use the farm with the Ohio Bicentennial Barn next to the high school as a learning laboratory farm for our program! We are soo excited for this, but as I’m sure you can tell if you have driven by this farm, we have our work cut out for us!”
Agriculture Instructor, Kristen Stringer, said that Minford Schools purchased the property with the bicentennial barn on it recently. They approached her to see if she would be interested through their National FFA Organization chapter, renovate the barn and use it as a learning laboratory.
This year, there is not a lot the National FFA Organization can do animal-wise, but they plan to start a garden and harvest produce. Stringer also has plans for a pumpkin patch for things they would be able to use in the fall when they come back to school, allowing students to see the end product and be able to sell those as a fundraiser to help fund the renovations.
Stringer said that because the barn is right there in the center of town, she didn’t feel like anyone would want to see the barn torn down. She said she thinks the district does have some plans for other parts of the property but that it is still a work in progress.
“The farm part of it, we plan to have chickens and hopefully, ducks because normally when we hatch eggs in the classroom, I get those from local people around,” Stringer said. “If we raise our own chickens from the eggs we hatch, we will always have our own supply and can sell the eggs as a fundraiser.”
Stringer added, “We won’t be contained to the classroom as much and we can do more hands-on than we do in-class small scale. I wanted to get it as soon as possible so that we could get started because a lot of the time, when people announce a project, it takes so many years for anybody to see anything come out of it. We can at least start growing vegetables this year and it is like, OK, they are getting a little head start and able to use it the first year.”
As for the program through the SCCTC at Minford, Stringer shared they teach animal and plant science, and soil with most of her classes geared toward plants and animals because that is mostly what people have around the area. She also mentioned that a lot of the people in the community are invested in livestock. She said that next year, they would once again be able to offer a class at the Jr. High school.
“National FFA Organization is inter curricular for a class, all the students are enrolled in National FFA Organization and different National FFA Organization activities are part of their grade as well. They have the classroom aspect and then what we have been lacking and will really help out with the farm is SAE (Supervised Agricultural Experiences),” Stringer said. “With this, you take a project like you can show at the fair through the National FFA Organization, so if you want to show a lamb at the fair, then that is your SAE and you keep a record book, but having the farm will allow us, where a lot of children don’t have that opportunity at home, we can have opportunities for them to do them on the farm, they can do gardening, landscaping, flower beds and stuff like that.”
Stringer also mentioned that they are hoping someday to get beehives as an option, and if they got smaller livestock, like sheep and goats, all of those opportunities would be SAE and they could work with them outside of class. As for the classes they take at school, they have the first class, which is AG food and natural resources and then an animal science class, and the third class is livestock and in the fourth class and if they have taken all the other classes, they do AG business. It is important to note that there are other AG classes in other Scioto County schools, like Green, Valley, Northwest, West and South Webster.
To help them get up and running, Stringer and her classes are building a National FFA Organization Booster Club for any community members who would like to support the project. If you would like to be involved, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1928
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