WASHINGTON, Sept. 25, 2014 — Thursday is National Teach Ag Day and the agricultural community will celebrate by encouraging students to enter the profession, which is facing a critical shortage while dealing with important issues such as sustainable food production, a growing global population, the state of the environment, and improving public health.
“The agriculture classroom is where we can begin to solve these really big‐picture questions, and those classrooms won’t exist without our best and brightest minds choosing to become agricultural educators,” said Ellen Thompson, National Teach Ag campaign coordinator.
National Teach Ag Day is hosting a live webcast from the headquarters of the agribusiness CHS in St. Paul, Minn. today from 1‐3 p.m. Eastern Time. The event will include appearances by leaders in agricultural education, panels of current and future agriculture teachers, and tips for pursuing a career in ag education. Outstanding teachers in the field will also be honored. Interested parties can participate in the program through social media and video conferencing. To log on to the live webcast, visit naae.org/teachag.
The National Teach Ag Campaign is an initiative of the National Council for Agricultural Education, led by the National Association of Agricultural Educators. The campaign is funded by the CHS Foundation, DuPont Pioneer, and Growth Energy as a special project of the National FFA (Future Farmers of America) Foundation.
Agriculture teachers are leaving their posts every year, but the number of new graduates in the field is not keeping pace, according to data from the National Council for Agricultural Education.
In the 2012-2013 school year, there were 7,737 agriculture programs in U.S. middle and high schools, according to the National Teach Ag campaign’s 2012 Annual Report. The same report estimated that almost 750 agriculture teachers will retire by 2015.
Another study— the 2013-2014 Teacher Supply and Demand Study—showed that in the spring of 2013 there were 460 graduates from college agricultural education programs that sought positions as agricultural educators, but the growing number of retirees and schools with new agricultural education programs created a demand for 954 new teachers across the country.
Events surrounding National Teach Ag Day included a dialogue sponsored by CHS and AgriBank on Wednesday, Sept. 24, that included agribusiness leaders, policy makers and education professionals, who discussed strategies to increase the supply of quality agriculture teachers.
“We are in exciting times, but we’ve got major challenges,” said Steve Brown of the National FFA Organization and Department of Education during Wednesday’s event. “If we don’t have a well-trained agricultural workforce, there will continue to be hunger in this world.”
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