The Importance of Ag Curriculum Below the College Level

Agriculture plays a very critical role within our everyday lives, whether you play a direct role in the industry or not. Everything we do as humans revolve around agriculture, so it’s time to start educating others about this amazing industry and what it has to offer. It is important to offer agricultural curriculum to those attending both middle school and high school, so kids can become exposed to the promising future of this field. We’re always going to depend on it, so why not express the importance starting at a young age?

“Agriculture is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals, and happiness.” -Thomas Jefferson

Coming from a small farming community, I’ve experienced first hand the importance of agricultural curriculum below the college level. My first opportunity to take an ag class was in the eighth grade. It was just an intro-level class, but it still pushed us to become familiar with the basics of agriculture. It included both lecturing and hands-on activities, which was very beneficial to us at the time; it was an open door that led us students to many more possibilities come high school. If I hadn’t received the opportunity to take this class, my passion for agriculture would’ve started later on, if at all.

In high school, we had many more opportunities in regards to taking agriculture classes. We were given different options such as animal science, plant science, horticulture I & II, and landscaping. This was a great chance for us to learn about the different aspects of ag, and possibly learn something new that we’re passionate about.

Credit: National FFA Organization

Not only did we have classes to choose from in high school, but we also had the option to join FFA. I was part of FFA all four year of my high school career and held two different officer positions during those years. The amount that I learned and grew from being apart of this organization is truly astounding. Between leadership conferences, judging contests, and national and state conventions, FFA gave me an opportunity to not only meet many new people and gain new connections, but it made my passion for agriculture grow even stronger. Because of these aspects of my high school career, I decided to major in Agricultural Business in college.

If I didn’t have the opportunity to take the classes I did or to join FFA, I wouldn’t be as far along as I am in terms of my agricultural education, I probably would’t even be studying the major I am, and I wouldn’t share the same appreciation for agriculture that every other WIU School of Agriculture student does. It has opened so many doors for me and I will be forever grateful for that. If every kid received the same opportunities that I did while going through middle school and high school, I believe agriculture wouldn’t be as controversial as it is today. With how prevalent agriculture is in today’s society, it is important that everyone knows the facts instead of the opinions, and that can only be done by receiving the proper education about it.


My name is Janie Kuss and I am a junior here at Western Illinois University. I’m majoring in Agricultural Business with a minor in Marketing; I’ve always had a passion for agriculture and I plan on pursuing a career within the field after I graduate. I’ve been actively involved within my sorority, Sigma Sigma Sigma, since the spring of 2015. Thanks for checking out my blog!



5 thoughts on “The Importance of Ag Curriculum Below the College Level

  1. nadastonebraker

    Janie, I agree that agriculture classes should be a part of curriculum below the college level. I think it really gives students the chance to get to know agriculture, especially if they did not grow up around it! With more students taking these classes and getting a grasp on the industry, hopefully there will be less skepticism towards agriculture and more understanding.


  2. hdwilder

    Very well written article! One that hits home for me. If it had not been for my school’s strong agriculture program that impacted me from Grade 6 through Grade 12, I would lack many of the opportunities that I have been given up to this point. Not only did it lay the foundation for my interest in this industry, but it allowed me to answer questions and educate peers about what we do on a daily basis.


  3. ashlanedwards

    This is a wonderful article. I believe that agriculture should be part of curriculum below the college level, especially FFA. They teach so many important life lessons that students should know, which will help prepare them for the future better. The current curriculum prepares the students to continue on to more schooling, but for those who do not, it does not help, but if they were to implement this, then they would be helping those students as well.


  4. martinnall

    I believe that there are many reasons to back up the importance of Agriculture Education in every level of education. Agriculture Education provides a unique spin on the curriculum that is normally offered in the high school and provides the practical application for knowledge taught in science and math classes. As an Agriculture Education major, one of the larges barriers for implementing Agriculture Education at all levels is funding for these programs. This is a problem that may require a little bit of creativity within the community to solve.


  5. hreyn93

    Great article! This hits home since a couple of years ago the town I grew up in closed the ag and FFA program. I believe your absolutely right that ag would not controversial if everyone was made to take at least one ag class.


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