Learn about the growing trend amongst public high schools to incorporate agricultural science curriculum that prepares students for a lucrative career in the industry.
While high school is typically associated with AP exams, English Literature class, prom, and football games, some campuses today are renewing their focus on an unexpected area: agriculture!
According to the Dallas News,
the study of agriculture and its related sciences is gaining popularity on a handful of public high school campuses. Specifically, students from various urban and suburban schools districts throughout Texas are leading the renewed interest in agriculture sciences.
In a technology-driven economy, the growing interest in agricultural sciences challenges centurion stereotypes of the industry. As the director of the Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas asserts, agricultural education has also broadened to encompass a wide range of city-based careers from veterinary science to biomedical research.” In addition, the agricultural-based vocational programs
offered to public school students are thriving in urban areas, potentially due to shifts in population trends from some of the more rural regions of the state.
As agricultural science continues to reinvent itself through technological and innovative developments, more public high school students find themselves enjoying the challenges of an education and future careers
in the industry.
The Evolution of Agricultural Sciences
While the traditional roles of agriculture were once reserved for farming, today’s agricultural education programs highlight modern business practices. Modern agricultural corporations are beginning to hire more and more researchers, experts, and analysts – all while challenging the stereotypes of the industry. To highlight the point, one Texas high school teacher encourages her pupils to, “’Think of everything you eat, drink, wear and what you wake up in, as far as your house – all that's supplied by products of agriculture […] Ag(riculture) is not just farming and cows and plows."’
Careers in agriculture are diverse and widespread, which means that the opportunities provided to high school students can allow graduates to quickly move into related higher education
pathways or pursue agricultural jobs directly after high school. According to AG Day, an agricultural organization, students interested in agricultural based studies can pursue career options such as:
- Agribusiness Management
- Agricultural and Natural Resources Communications
- Building Construction Management
- Resource Development and Management
- Parks, Recreations, and Tourism Services / Venues
- Forestry, Fisheries, and Wildlife
- Food Science
Public School Programs: Innovative Agriculture Opportunities
Students attending agricultural public high school programs are taught technical and analytical skills that will propel their education and careers forward. For example, as the Dallas News further reveals, students in the public high schools’ agricultural classes are required to understand skills and concepts such as:
- How to assess fecal samples from various agricultural animals to identify infections
- Skills behind genetic engineering of plants, studies in floral design, and plant growth
- Innovative concepts related to the field of biotechnology
- Related skills and services through the study of food and natural resources
Through hands-on, real world, and engaging learning opportunities, students not only hone their skills in agriculture, but also gain a greater understanding of the complexities of core-subject areas, including chemistry and science. Adding to this, the director of Agricultural Programs for the Texas Education Agency adds, “Such applied learning is invaluable to students, and that's why certification and licensure programs are being emphasized like never before.”
Public high schools today are certainly paving the way for the agricultural industry of the future. Experts predict that 80 percent of the “real jobs in agricultural processing” are found in urban and suburban communities, and subsequently, public schools’ agricultural courses provides students with advanced skills to prepare for work in an evolving job market.