By Janet Kehres
Former Plymouth FFA student, Levi Myers attends Wilmington College. His major is Vocational Agriculture. Currently he is in his Junior year at the college. He participates in an internship that sends him to various schools throughout Ohio. He also works on the College Academic Farm.
The internship is a new program associated with Ohio FFA and the Department of Education and is based on future vocational agriculture teachers through professional development, working to make money and promoting the need for agriculture teachers. There is a growing need in Ohio for agriculture teachers and Ohio Department of Education recognizes that need.
They developed a comprehensive program during the summer months for the students to be active from March through October. While working on the college farm, the students participate in the “Tomato Show.” During this event the students display over 200 varieties of tomatoes and invite the public to enjoy the crop. They have beef cattle, goats and sheep on the 6,000 acre farm. The students help care for all of the animals. They farm approximately 250 acres of land and lease the rest to area farmers.
While in high school Levi had no idea what he wanted to do, but later into his senior year he said he decided that if he wanted to continue with FFA after high school and be able to participate with the county fair each year, he needed to pick a career related to FFA. He thought there would be no better way to accomplish both than being an Agriculture Teacher. Teaching Ag was always in the back of his mind, but the more he thought about college he realized that was best suited for him. He likes being involved with the largest student organization in the world (FFA) and hopes to make an impact on the future of agriculture. He said he feels it is such a rewarding career. You get to see students grow, learn and develop into fine young adults.
The students from Wilmington also attend the State Convention where they coordinate the service project “Ohio FFA Fights Hunger.” Sponsors provide food and the students pack the food into boxes to be sent to Mid-Ohio’s Food Bank and other areas. This past year the students packed 87,000 boxes.
During the winter months the students visit various schools to give lectures and share what they are learning.
The interns also attend the National Convention where they encourage students to become leaders and to become interested in teaching vocational agriculture. They assist where they are needed during the convention and help the younger students in different areas. They are asked to assist in judging various areas such as diversified crops and animals.
While visiting area schools the interns talk to students about professional development and possible areas of interest the students would want to learn about in farming.
The interns also have the opportunity for a field experience giving them practical experiential learning activities under institutional or organizational sponsorship, usually away from the classroom or campus characterized as less formal and concentrated than some professional internship programs.
Eventually Levi said he would love to return to the northern Ohio region. He hopes there will be an opening in his field when he is finished with college near his home town. He loves the Wilmington area and the southwestern region of Ohio, but there is nothing like being “home.”