Breaking ground on agricultural education

Importance of agricultural education

e Economics
Professor Kellie Enns, who leads the Agricultural Education Program, working with her students.

Recent studies have shown a significant decline in the number of agriculture teachers in K-12 schools across the nation. With its new CoBank Center for Agricultural Education set to break ground soon, CSU will be uniquely-positioned to help fill this void and ensure that agricultural education remains a core component of K-12 education, not just here in Colorado but across the United States.

Having met its goal of raising $3.3 million for the new center, CSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences will soon begin construction north of campus at the college’s Agricultural Research, Development and Education Center. The Colorado FFA Foundation led the campaign and partnered with the college to help raise funds and work with donors – individuals and corporations – interested in contributing to the building.

CoBank Center for Agricultural Education

The CoBank Center for Agricultural Education will encompass more than 14,000 square feet, with customized laboratory, technology, teaching and office space. It also will include special exhibit space for the newly named Farm Credit Colorado Agriculture Hall of Fame, a signature program of the Colorado FFA Foundation. Not only will the center function as an academic space for faculty, staff, and students, but it will also serve as a community meeting space, bringing together individuals from the agricultural industry, rural communities, and local schools.

‘Growing need’

“There is a growing need for agricultural educators, especially in K-12 schools,” said Craig Beyrouty, dean of Colorado State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences. “This new center will position our students for success as they enter the job market and will make our agricultural education program a highly sought after destination for new students.”

CSU students focused on agricultural education have a high success rate in finding jobs after graduation due in part to the reduced number of agricultural educators available in the marketplace, in Colorado and across the country. Even more importantly, leadership training and an appreciation for pressing global issues are hallmarks of CSU’s agricultural education program. Graduates of this program are positioned to become experts in education, industry and government in areas of global importance such as feeding a growing global population and providing safe and nutritious food to people around the world.

“The new Center for Agricultural Education will benefit the students in Ag Ed by equipping us with the tools to be well prepared as we enter into agricultural instructor positions,” said Shauna Brown, a junior Agricultural Education major. “This building sets us apart from other agricultural education programs in the country and ultimately sets us up for success as we move into our future positions. I am excited for the hands-on opportunities and the experience I will gain working in the classroom. Once again, CSU, and specifically the College of Agricultural Sciences, is going above and beyond to make sure our time here at the university is well spent. I want to thank the many donors and the university for the support that makes this building possible.”

Producing food for the global population

Assistant Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics Kellie Enns leads CSU’s Agricultural Education Program. “We need to expand our agricultural education program at CSU because our industry has a great task in producing food for a booming global population,” Enns said. “We need to draw new, highly qualified professionals into agriculture, and one of the best ways to do that is through formal agricultural education programs in high schools. These high school students often become very passionate about agriculture and pursue advanced training and degrees.”

Ground breaking Oct. 4

A ground breaking celebration will be held in conjunction with Ag Day and the Blue Jacket Society Breakfast from 8-10 a.m. on Oct. 4 at the Agricultural Research, Development and Education Center.

“The ground breaking celebration will be a wonderful way to highlight the partnership between the college and Colorado FFA,” said Don Thorn, executive director of the Colorado FFA Foundation. “This partnership was essential to making this building a reality.”