I was never exceptionally athletic or outrageously book smart in high school. I couldn’t sing or read music and I could never perfect a role in theatre. I never fully understood anatomy or chemistry, my brain didn’t understand math past a general algebra level, and literature bored me out of my mind. Despite all this, I still managed to survive high school because I found a place where I could excel at my studies – agriculture.
Agricultural Education was the most beneficial thing to my high school career. In the ag classroom I gained so much more than an education on “dirt” and cows – it was how I managed to keep up with my other studies. Agriculture goes beyond sows, cows, and plows; it is a business, science, and an art.
For the SECOND year in a row, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has proposed zero funding for Agricultural Education. The governor of a state where 1 in 4 jobs relates back to agriculture has failed to include funding for agriculture. He has zero funding planned for school greenhouses, agricultural computer labs, and shop classes. This is where students find a passion for the jobs in agriculture that are widespread throughout the state. This is where I found a passion to pursue a career in Agricultural Education in hopes to one day give back what I’ve learned to future students.
Without funding for Agricultural Education, many of the necessities needed to teach students will be lost or teachers won’t have resources available to educate their students. With a lack of resources for teachers and students, some students might choose not to attend school because nothing is enjoyable to them if they struggle with other subjects. Agricultural Education is not just important to farmers, it’s important to Illinois’ future.