Page 12 - TTMNFall2023
P. 12

        Page 12                                                                                                Electronic Edition:

        Agricultural Education Teachers are In High Demand – Both In and Out of the Classroom

                                                                                a variety of careers through hands-on classes,   course with about 40 students to nine diverse
                                                                                highly applicable course material, and a sup-  courses with over 400 students today. robin
                                                                                portive network of staff and alumni.  Tidd joined the district as an agriculture, food
                                                                                   “Through early field experiences, intern-  and  natural  resource  teacher  in  2021  after
                                                                                ships and student teaching, Ag Ed students are   graduating from CFANS.
                                                                                able  to  try  on  different  options  to  find  their   “One reason the program came back here
                                                                                career  fit,”  said  Amy  Smith,  associate  pro-  was  because  of  community  support,”  said
                                                                                fessor  of  Agricultural  Education  and  major   Tidd. “They saw how many jobs we have in
                                                                                coordinator.  “by  graduation,  they  typically   Mankato  that  relate  to  agriculture,  and  we
                                                                                have their career path identified, whether that   weren’t  training  high  school  students  in  that
                                                                                leads to a classroom, county extension office,   area. Now we’re introducing hundreds of stu-
                                                                                or the corporate world.”           dents each year to agriculture education and
                                                                                   Smith says that over the past three years,   all of the possibilities within it.”
                                                                                92 percent of undergraduates who completed   “There is a broad array of subjects that
                                                                                the  program  immediately  accepted  employ-  fall  under  the  agriculture  umbrella,  such  as
                                                                                ment  within  the  profession.  For  those  who   biotechnology,  environmental  services,  and
                                                                                didn’t,  the  primary  reason  was  geographic   food products and processing, just to name a
                                                                                limitations.                       few,” said Smith.  “Many people don’t realize
                                                                                   For Ag Ed students destined for a middle   that  the  subjects  they  are  passionate  about
                                                                                or  high  school  classroom,  there  is  no  short-  teaching  are  actually  agriculture,  just  called
        Robin Tidd (right) works with a high school student at Mankato Area Public Schools  age of opportunities. “In many cases, demand   something else.”
                                                                                is  coming  from  school  districts  wanting  to   The Ag Ed program at CFANS continues
        Amy Smith, CFANS (The College of Food,     “I’m  better  because  of  the  time  I   expand existing Ag Ed programs or start new   to evolve to meet that challenge, most recently
        Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences)  spent  working  with  high  school  students  in   ones,” said Smith. “At the same time, due to   with the addition of a minor and a new mas-
            When Liz Knutson presents to a group of   the  classroom,”  said  Knutson,  who  joined   teacher shortages in other areas of career and   ter’s  degree.  As  the  program  has  expanded,
        people at work, she leans heavily on skills she   Corteva Agriscience after graduating with her   technical education, some schools are leverag-  one thing has stayed the same: a personalized
        developed  studying  Agricultural  Education  at   teaching license in 2014. She now serves as   ing the versatility of an Ag Ed curriculum to   approach to supporting students.
        CFANS. It’s where she learned how to set direc-  Pioneer soybean marketing leader for the U.S.   address  topics  often  included  in  family  and   “There’s a place for everyone in agricul-
        tion and expectations, to command a room, and   “The Ag  Ed  major  made  me  more  versatile   consumer  science  education  or  technology   ture,” said sophomore Noah Erickson. “I know
        to galvanize an audience to act. While student   and,  I  believe,  a  more  marketable  potential   education.”  that the versatility of this major will help set
        teaching is where she honed these skills, they’ve   employee.”             This growth is evident at Mankato Area   me up for success.”
        proven invaluable in the corporate world.  The Ag  Ed  major  prepares  students  for   Public Schools. It grew from one introductory
        MDA Awards Grants to Bolster Meat Processing Education in Minnesota

                                                                                Ashby Public School                preparing the meat in different ways.
                                                                                   Partner  with  West  Central Area  Schools   Award Total $5,037.80
                                                                                and West Central Initiative to teach meat pro-  Nicollet Public School
                                                                                cessing through the purchase of equipment for   Utilize the National Food Science Safety
                                                                                a meat processing mobile trailer.  and Processing Curriculum (CASE) to impact
                                                                                   Award Total $41,296.58          student  career  readiness  in  meat  science  and
                                                                                Bertha-Hewitt Schools              processing.
                                                                                   renovate an existing space to accommo-  Award Total $60,000
                                                                                date a walk-in cooler as well as upgraded sinks  ROCORI Public Schools
                                                                                to allow for proper cleaning of equipment and   Develop two classes: one focused on meat
                                                                                ensure proper food and student safety.  science and food safety and the second about
                                                                                   Award Total $50,000             further  processing,  safety,  and  cultural  differ-
                                                                                Byron High School                  ences. Award Total $39,527.16
                                                                                   build  upon  current  programming  by
                                                                                developing  and  adding  a  meat  processing  Sibley East Public Schools
                                                                                course with local processing partners.  Update an old Family and Consumer Sci-
            Minnesota’s  meat  processing  indus-  “Minnesota’s  meat  cutting  and  butchery
        try  has  received  a  boost  from  the  Minnesota   training programs are vital to the future of our   Award Total $27,175.47  ences  lab  to  become  a  meat  cutting  lab  and
        Department of Agriculture (MDA), which has   state’s processing industry,” Agriculture Com-  Lac qui Parle Valley High School  develop a pathway in which students will build
        awarded $350,000 in one-time grants through   missioner Thom  Petersen  said.  “The  MDA  is   build a mobile meat processing trailer and   upon skills every year in grades 8-12, culminat-
        its Meat Education and Training (MEAT) Grant   pleased to support these nine schools provid-  collaborate with a technical college College to   ing in a work-based capstone.
        Program.                            ing new pathways for students to receive more   develop a curriculum for meat processing classes.  Award Total $21,962.99
            The  MEAT  Grant  provides  the  opportu-  hands-on training experiences and learn about   Award Total $70,000  West Central Area Schools
        nity for Minnesota schools to fund equipment   careers in this field.”                                         Further  support  the  purchase  of  a  meat
        purchases,  facility  renovation,  curriculum   A full list of MEAT Grant recipients can   Morris Area High School  processing mobile trailer and provide up to 100
        development,  faculty  training,  and  more  pro-  be found below. For more information, visit the   Expand the current Ag Processing course   hours of hands-on training for one agriculture
        cessing-related activities at new or established   MDA’s  program  webpage  https://www.mda.  to  further  provide  hands-on  experiences  and   instructor at a local butcher shop.
        training programs for secondary students. Nine  in-depth learning about meat cutting and pro-  Award Total $35,000
        schools  received  grants  through  this  funding,   grant              cessing,  and  provide  a  culinary  experience   Information  courtesy  of  the  Minnesota
        with a maximum award of $70,000.                                        through Family Consumer Sciences classes by   Department of Agriculture
   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17