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FDSH student pushes for ag education programs

Emma Swanson’s effort is important in farming region

A Fort Dodge Senior High School student is pushing to bring agricultural education – and more awareness of agribusiness in general – to her school.

In an area where farms and ag-related businesses are dominant players in the local economy, the efforts of 17-year-old Emma Swanson are important.

Swanson, who did not grow up on a farm, became fascinated with agriculture after enrolling in an elective class at her old school, Pocahontas Area High School. She wanted to continue pursuing that interest after transferring to Fort Dodge Senior High School. But upon arriving at her new school, she was disappointed that no such programs existed there.

She set out to change that.

Swanson wants to establish a chapter of FFA at the school. She also wants to see a variety of agriculture classes started there.

It seems rare for a student to work so diligently to bring a whole new selection of courses to her school. We urge Emma Swanson to keep working to achieve her FFA and ag goals. Her leadership on this issue should be an insipiration to teens and adults alike.

Her efforts have not been ignored. District Superintendent Jesse Ulrich is a former FFA president who says the organization gives its members leadership skills that can help them in any field of endeavor.

While Ulrich wants to add agriculture programs to the high school curriculum, he has been prevented from doing so by a fundamental problem: the inability to hire an ag instructor. Recruiting that kind of teacher is tough, he says, because people qualified for the post are also qualified for usually higher paying positions in ag-related businesses.

We urge Ulrich and the district’s Board of Education to continue working to find ways to add ag education at the high school.

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