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Southern FFA Chapter benefits from hands-on learning

Southern FFA Chapter benefits from hands-on learning

Southern High School in Wymore, Nebraska, has a brand new FFA Chapter. Guiding that chapter through its initial growth is Brady Meyer, a new full-time teacher.

Meyer, a Southern High School graduate, had been a long-time substitute teacher in the Southern School District. When the previous industrial education teacher left his position, Meyer took over as a full-time teacher.

“The administration and the community thought it would be a good idea to transition from industrial to ag ed,” he said. “We all thought an FFA Chapter would be an advantage, as well.”

Getting things going in the midst of a pandemic have been problematic. Meyer and his 20 students have had to make adjustments on the fly.

“COVID has hampered everything,” he said. “Every day brings something new.”

Still, having an instructor who has life experience in the agricultural field has been a boon. Meyer has been farming in Gage County for more than 12 years. He farms corn and soybeans and has a Simmental cattle operation.

While attending Southeast Community College, Meyer saw the benefits of having a “living laboratory” for students to gain hands-on learning. He said he wants to emulate that at Southern.

“By using my farm as a living lab the students get actual working experience,” Meyer said. “That is invaluable in life.”

His farm is six miles from the school. Already students have been able to observe embryo transfers and been able to work with their hands at actual farm duties.

“They love the practical app,” Meyers said. “They always have dozens of questions after some time on the farm. That shows they are engaged.”

They are also dedicated to the success of the FFA program, he said. The chapter had a fundraising goal of $2,000 for its first year. The students raised $5,000. This will go to purchase their iconic blue jackets and also to finance an aquaponics system for the classroom.

Jon Burleson can be reached at jon.burleson@lee.net.

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