Ag program returning to OHS

Tim Taylor addresses the Okmulgee School board Monday night. He will be the new Agriculture instructor at OHS.

By JESSIE BRYDGES

Times Staff Writer

After a seven year absence, the Agricultural Program is returning to Okmulgee High School.

Tim Taylor was invited to the school board meeting Monday evening to discuss the possibility of restarting an Ag program at Okmulgee schools. 

Taylor grew up outside Vinita on a small cattle operation. He was a member and an officer in the Craig County 4-H organization and inducted into the Craig County 4-H Hall of Fame in 2011.

Taylor started his formal education in 2008 when he enrolled in the middle school agricultural education class. 

However, during his sophomore year, a new instructor introduced a new curriculum. 

The new instructor transitioned the class from traditional agricultural education coursework and activities of an FFA chapter to more progressive and innovated classes and activities.

“Under the instruction of Mrs. Piguet, our program ran two greenhouses (used for fundraisers, agriscience projects and classroom instruction), an instrumental agricultural mechanics shop, along with several levels of FFA chapter officer leadership teams, a community catering fundraising team and state and national winning FFA competitive teams,”  Taylor said.

It is this type of classroom that Taylor is wanting Okmulgee to implement. 

It has often been said that if you eat, you are involved in ag. With consumers demanding to know more about their food than ever before this has never been more true. 

Because of this demand for knowledge, there is a growing need for agricultural education in schools across the nation. 

The program is scheduled to be implemented for the spring 2018 semester. 

However, before the program starts there are several steps that must be taken. 

First, there is a need for an advisory committee. 

This is designed to identify those who are interested and eager to help Taylor and the future program. 

This committee will also give Taylor advice on the curriculum needed in this specific community.

Next would be to identify the students who would be leaders in restarting the program. 

These individuals will be the face of the program and will also serve as officers, committee members and student advisers to Taylor as they work to gather more student involvement. 

The Agricultural Education Center and facilities need to also be cleaned and inventoried before the classes can start. 

Once those steps are taken, classes can begin. 

The spring 2018 semester will consist of introducing students to FFA and working out how to integrate classwork with Supervised Agricultural Experiences or SAE.

SAEs are student projects that are done outside of the school day. SAEs allow students to use what they are learning in the classroom and apply it to real world situations. 

One of the more challenging aspects of starting, or restarting, an agriculture program is the 12 month requirements for both teacher and student. 

Neither plants nor animals stop growing during the summer so the work can't stop either. 

As well as SAEs, students will take part in tours of local and state agricultural operations, college campuses, attend FFA leadership camps and visit farms/businesses to learn about employment opportunities.

Okmulgee has had a long history with Agricultural Education and FFA.

In 1927, Dunbar High School was one of the 13 founding chapters of the New Farmers of Oklahoma.  

In 1935, the New Farmers of America was established. 

In 1965, the New Farmers of America merged with Future Farmers of America (FFA) and Dunbar and Okmulgee's FFA chapters were chartered. 

It is exciting that this program is coming back and anyone who is interested in helping out or becoming involved should contact the school.

 

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