HOLLISTER, Mo. – Future Farmers of America (FFA) students at Hollister High School use the farm on campus to learn about much more than classic farming techniques.
Hollister agriculture instructor, Matt Hart, said he teaches skills that his students can use in everyday life.
“Hard work, dedication and they learn how to keep records,” said Hart. “We have a student who owns chickens here on campus. We have a garden that students can rent a plot in and use that for vegetable production. Then we also have four heffers here that we’re going to use to start our stock and sell calves to students so they can start their own herd.”
Hart said the FFA program is growing because of the hard work students have contributed towards farming production. Brayden Dennis, a senior at Hollister High School, said a corral to house more livestock is in development but he and other students already have access to a chicken coop, beehives and a greenhouse.
“Last year, I also did Agronomy, but it got canceled because of COVID, so I probably put 1,000 hours in Agronomy,” said Dennis
Agronomy is the study of plants and seeds. He is preparing for a competition the school is hosting on Saturday, March 6, that will feature hundreds of local students from around the district. The FFA competition will be roughly four hours, set for a 9 a.m. start time.
At Harrison High School, FFA’s Harrison chapter President Andrea Byrd said these competitions can test your skills in events that aren’t what people normally consider when they hear farming.
“There’s also food science competitions, there’s farm business management competitions and everything in between,” said Byrd. “So you have your technology side. You have your business. You have your ag literacy and your teaching and education. Overall FFA is way more than people believe it is.”
According to the national organization, the FFA awards more than $2.7 million in scholarships to students every year.