FFA makes improvements to school agriculture facilities

Barn, community garden to serve as learning tool for middle, high school students

Morgan Barnes

More stories from Morgan Barnes


Faye Smith

Sophomore Ethan Entz transports a farrowing crate during the renovation of the FFA facilities.

Future Farmers of America (FFA) is behind the new changes being made in the agricultural department in the upcoming weeks. The club plans to finish the inside of the barn and build a community garden. The barn has been around for close to eight years, but has had no true purpose. Agriculture teacher and club sponsor Mack Witzel is leading the improvements.

“Right now we are looking at taking the barn that is out behind the ag. building and finishing the inside of it. So we are going in to finish the inside of it so that we can use it as a classroom setting. We are also taking a look to see what it is going to take to implement a garden out there that we can use with our classes that we have here, and have a community benefit as well,” Witzel said.

While Witzel has been working on the details of these improvements for a while now, another idea was presented on the way home from the FFA National Convention.

“It started with a conversation when we were out at the National FFA Convention, with Kaitlyn Black. She kind of came up with the idea of a community garden, and we started looking into the different options that we had. We just decided that we should just do it. I was just going to finish the barn and she’s the one that took it another step and said, ‘hey, let’s do this,’” Witzel said.
Various classes here and at the middle schools will be able to use these improvements as a learning aide.

“It would help with animal science because Witzel has talked about us getting sows, and hands on learning how to AI (Artificially Inseminate) them, and how to care for them. You can learn stuff from a book, but it’s a lot easier for people to learn from actually doing it. Not just animal science, but vet science as well can benefit from those pigs, and those animals that will be out there (in the barn),” sophomore Kaitlyn Black said.

Not only is FFA working on various improvements, but they are also working to receive grants to help them with their progress. Along with this FFA is recycling the materials that they can to save money as they make these improvements.

“Right now we are in the process of writing a few different grants that we have and those grants will do most of the funding for it. Other funding includes volunteer hours of just trying to get the land prepped,” Witzel said. “We are mostly just looking at the grants and seeing what supplies we have; so that instead of going out and spending money, we are recycling some of the things that we have to finish the inside of the barn.”