Inspiring Students to Appreciate Agricultural Production

Brian German Education

Agricultural Production

Agriculture teachers often take pride in the impact they have on the students that they teach. One of the great joys of the profession is often the tangible results of the efforts these teachers make for those that take their classes. Dr. Sam Rodriguez, a professor of ag education at Fresno State, shares this pride and sees great value in agricultural education.

Dr. Rodriguez was a former high school agriculture teacher and taught agriculture education classes at Reedley College before becoming a teacher at Fresno State. He enjoys the impact he has on his students and the role he has gotten to play in their development.

Agriculture teachers often play a different role in the lives of students than most of their other teachers. This is due to the amount of involvement agriculture instructors have in the lives of the students both in and out of the classroom.

“You will have an impact on students for four years in high school,” Dr. Rodriguez said. “Most other teachers, especially in bigger schools, are going to see them for one year. For your English class, your Math class, whatever it may be, and then you won’t have them again.”

Watching students grow and mature as they learn about the world around them, is a pleasant experience for most agriculture teachers on the high school level, and a reason many pursue the profession in the first place. Another advantage to the role is helping students understand the food and fiber system.

“If I can help my students in my class understand that ‘hey this is where food comes from. This is how it’s produced. This is what our growers and ranchers are always trying to do to make sure that they can be stewards of the land and be profitable, and do what they’re doing,’ and understand the food safety that goes into our food culture and make great decisions when they go shopping and understand that when there’s legislation coming on, that they understand what that means, and how it impacts them not only at home but in their pocketbook,” Dr. Rodriguez said.  “I think that means that I’ve been successful in helping those students understand the bigger picture of what ag is.”

Having this understanding of the agriculture industry helps students appreciate their food more and live more informed lives as they make purchasing and voting decisions that directly impact agricultural production. The value of teaching agriculture comes in many forms but can be described most simply by the unique impact agriculture education has on the lives of students.