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This is an article from the February 2017 edition of NAAE’s News & Views Newsletter. To read News & Views in its entirety, please visit this link.

 

propson2.jpgYou could call Jamie Propson the Joanna Gaines of agricultural education. Just like the host of the popular home remodeling show Fixer Upper, Propson took a program in need of a little love and has turned it into a real beauty in just a short time.

 

Propson began her career at Mishicot School District in Mishicot, Wis. in 2012. Since then she has seen her class enrollment increase 182 percent and the FFA chapter has grown from 38 members to 112. She attributes this growth to developing community partnerships, encouraging students to take on leadership roles, and providing them with applicable, hands-on curriculum.

 

“I want to create a culture of learning where students show mastery, are challenged with inquiry-based labs, field trips, experiments, and communication prompts,” said Propson.

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One of her first achievements was to have a 31-acre school trail and forest recognized by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources as a School Forest. This outdoor learning environment, dubbed the Mishicot Education Curriculum Change Area (MECCA), has a stewardship plan developed by Propson’s students. The plan includes forest management practices, like the removal of invasive plant species, as well as a vision for the forest and trail to offer educational and community service opportunities for all students in Mishicot. Propson organizes a forest clean-up day quarterly which brings together supporters and students to make improvements to the educational area. In addition to the forest and trail, her students also manage a donated orchard and the school’s community garden.

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In 2015, Propson received a $71,000 grant to renovate her food science laboratory and upgrade her curriculum to mimic the same standards found in the food industry.

 

Updating her facilities is especially important to Propson so she can provide her students with the most current and applicable agricultural knowledge and experiences. She is currently in the process of applying for grants to remodel the program’s 20 year old greenhouse, which is in need of numerous repairs as well as improved work space for her students.

 

Thanks to her efforts in updating her program facilities and providing her students with current agricultural experiences, Propson was awarded the 2016 NAAE Region III Outstanding Young Member award.

 

For more information about this award and to see the other award winners, follow this link. This program is sponsored by John Deere as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.

This is an article from the February 2017 edition of NAAE’s News & Views Newsletter. To read News & Views in its entirety, please visit this link

 

.f2f.jpgWhen he was a kid, Africa was never a place that Zach Rada thought he would visit. However, thanks to Zach’s career as an agricultural educator, his passion for helping farmers, and NAAE’s partnership with the Farmer to Farmer program, that’s exactly where he found himself in the summer of 2015.

 

In a 5-year partnership with Catholic Relief Services, NAAE is participating in the Farmer to Farmer program to give our members the opportunity to provide technical agricultural assistance to people in in Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Tanzania.

 

NAAE members make wonderful Farmer to Farmer volunteers, because the program often

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needs volunteers to cover the same kinds of topics that are taught in high school and postsecondary agriculture classes here in the United States.

 

 

“They need teachers, and that’s what we do,” said Rada.

 

His assignment took him to the Lushoto district of Tanzania, where he taught basic record keeping, profit analysis, and other agribusiness skills to area farmers – perfect for someone whose day job is being an agribusiness instructor at a community college.

 

Farmer to Farmer assignments cover a wide range of topics, and are created based on both need and the skill set of the volunteer. They typically last two to three weeks. There is no cost to the volunteer for anything related to the assignment, and one of the priorities of the program is to give volunteers a safe, positive experience, so you will be guided every step of the way, including while you in Africa. 

 

Interested?

If volunteering with Farmer to Farmer interests you, there are a few simple steps you can take.

f2f2.jpg1. Take a look at the current available assignments to get a feel for the kinds of opportunities that exist within the program. Visit the Farmer to Farmer website to see a list of current available assignments.

 

Although an assignment may be created based on the skills of the volunteer, there are numerous assignments already available which may be a good fit. Here are a couple of current examples:

 

Seeking individuals with experience in animal breeding and biotechnology to help increase Ethiopia’s livestock production for both local use and export. Volunteers work directly with producers to provide a better understanding and develop their skills in embryo transfers, artificial insemination, lactation, estrous synchronization and many other areas related to breeding and biotechnology.

 

Help farmers in Uganda streamline their record keeping system in order to help them improve their financial management. Volunteers are given the task of helping farmers understand the importance of proper record keeping, calculating profits and losses, completing cost benefit analyses, and the overall basics of farm financial management.

 

2. Register with the Farmer-to-Farmer system. CRS will use that information to match your skills with a current assignment or possibly to create an assignment. Click here to learn more about registration.

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3. Contact Julie Fritsch at the NAAE office to let her know you’re interested. She can help you navigate the current assignments available and contact CRS to help them find a good fit for you.

 

Whether your primary skill set is in animal science, plant production, leadership, or any of the hundreds of other areas of agricultural expertise, there is an opportunity for you in the Farmer to Farmer program. Click here for additional information and start planning your experience to make a global impact on agriculture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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