Changing Minds

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South Winn Instructor Tackles Challenges

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Melissa Hageman knows many students don’t see a huge value in agriculture.

The 9-12 ag instructor for South Winneshiek knows what young people say.

Lines include, “I don’t farm. I am not interested in learning how to be a farmer. Why would I take an ag class? I want to take STEM classes and go to college for Agriculture. From my experience, high school Ag, and FFA are for farm kids.” She has heard these before.

“These are a few of the phrases I hear often as a high school Agriscience teacher,” said Hageman. “Today, many students and parents do not realize that agriculture courses [don’t just instruct] students about sows, cows and plows. Agriculture courses at South Winn teach students about the science behind specialized agricultural careers. Even though we live in a rural community, many of the students and families in our district represent the national average population of people who are two to three generations removed from agriculture. Nationally, less than 2% of Americans are farmers.”

Read more in the February 20 edition of the Calmar Courier.