FFA: Cultivating young minds

April 16, 2015

FFA -1By Sydney Scarbrough. Contributing Writer.

HART — A Future Farmers of America (FFAprogram that sprouted two years ago for students in three local schools has blossomed into a program that covers three counties.11049459_435545139934895_7253245029500709206_n

Hart-West Shore FFA is in another year at Hart High School and continues to grow in advancements, enrollment and projects. West Shore Educational Service District (ESD) largely funds the program, which is open to students from any high school in the West Shore ESD, which includes Mason, Oceana and Lake counties.

During both years of its existence, the program made appearances at National Convention, State Convention, Leadership Contest and raised chickens for the Michigan FFA Broiler Contest. This year, the program added two sheep and a lamb, as well as two female pygmy goats, who birthed five kids.

Alex Comstock

Alex Comstock, a Shelby High School senior who plans on attending Michigan State University in the fall to study agricultural  business, attributes his job at Wilbur Ellis to his involvement in FFA. His participation and active involvement in FFA “put him in the direction” towards his current job and future field of study. He speaks fondly of the program, which “gives you a lot of options — there are more careers in agriculture than you thought.” According to Comstock, the FFA program puts you “in a new environmental and out of your shell” which forces you to grow and take as much from the program as possible.

McKenna Littiebrant, a Hart High School senior who plans to pursue wildlife and fisheries management at McKenna LittiebrantNorthwestern Michigan University in the fall, says the class has made her “more aware of the ecosystems in this area and more excited to go into this field.” Littiebrant notes the “ability to be hands-on with the farm animals” as one of her favorite things about the class since she did not grow up with that exposure. This class taught her “how serious the agriculture industry is” due to the hard work and dedication it takes to raise animals. Littiebrant says she would encourage everyone to take the FFA classes, because they provide a “good learning experience” that anyone can enjoy, regardless of agricultural background.

Michigan State graduate Elizabeth Krhovsky, the program’s instructor, comes from an agricultural background and brings a youthful, informed approach to the class.

Krhovsky, who teaches two FFA classes (animal science and natural resources), hopes the FFA program will 10698526_373744832781593_541285275949122569_neventually become a full-time curriculum. This includes year-round running of the FFA facility to raise animals and allow students to show them at the summer fair. Krhovsky also aspires for the class to offer internships to second-year members, in order to enlarge their hands-on experience in the industry. She enjoys teaching this program because she “knows the students as people outside the classroom” and because of that, is “concerned about their success as adults after this (class).” Plans are underway to expand the Hart-West Shore FFA program animal facilities and greenhouse each year. The program’s active influence in the community and on the students of the county impacts future careers and lives to come.

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