School ag program a success

Agriculture in the City is a state-funded program which teaches agriculture education to students in city schools. This program is being piloted in one high school and one elementary in Cleveland and Cincinnati. The schools implementing this program have started to see some tremendous results. Agriculture is a huge industry in the state and the values instilled in members of 4-H and the FFA are important to Ohio’s youth.

Agriculture in the City uses the 4-H and FFA programs to help instill leadership, nurture potential and provide agriculture education. Leadership, communication and a love for education will enrich these students for their entire lives. These programs also instill the values of hard work and charity into the future leaders of Ohio. These programs are essential to preparing students to fill the open jobs in the food-processing industry.

East Tech High School, one of the pilot high schools for Agriculture in the City, is experiencing tremendous success. The school’s graduation rate has positively shifted by 26.9 percent. The graduation rate went from a dismal 46 percent to a stellar 72.9 percent. While a shift this large is due to multiple factors, one of them most certainly was Agriculture in the City. This program has helped to bring about a culture of excitement at East Tech, which is helping to spur graduation rates.

Just last month, FFA students from East Tech came to visit the Ohio Statehouse to promote Agriculture Week. These students got to meet an advocate of the Ohio Soy Bean Association. They also met with legislators and staff who provided information on the state of agriculture in Ohio. Legislators were impressed with the students’ sharpness, preparation and sense of pride in what they were doing.

The young people taking a part in Agriculture in the City are changing the future of inner city education. Something special happens when a student can envision the outcome of his education. Thanks to Agriculture in the City, these outcomes are looking bright and Ohio’s future is looking even brighter.

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By Jim Buchy

Contributing columnist

The writer represents the 84th District in the Ohio House of Representatives.