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January 23, 2013

Minco hires new Ag teacher

— We've all heard--or been--that student in class that laments, "But when am I ever going to use this?"

In Steve Clark's agriculture class at Minco High School, students using the skills they learn is just part of the curriculum.

A Minco native, Clark started teaching agriculture at Chickasha High School in 2005. He never left Minco, but commuted until 2012 when the previous agriculture teacher at Minco, Mickey Burns, retired. Clark said he saw it as a great opportunity, as he attended Minco schools until he graduated and went to college at Oklahoma State University with degrees in Animal Science and Agriculture Education.

Agriculture in the classroom tends to be a little more hands on, Clark said. Students learn the basic in the classroom and go on to apply them either in the shop or in the school's agriculture barn, for example.

Not all high school students go on to college, but studying the field of agriculture helps these kids find a career, he said. For example, a student may have an agriculture mechanics project such as welding. After graduation, the student will have some experience and be a good job candidate for a welding shop.

In agriculture mechanics, students may also learn how to build a barn, trailers, cookers, gates as well as repair. The students will learn basic safety in the classroom and do the hands on work in the shop.

The animal science aspect of agriculture usually involves raising an animal to be shown in the spring livestock show. In this case, students may learn about how to vaccinate an animal and then actually go out on the field and vaccinate them.

Clark said he likes helping a student raise an animal that, when they first get it, is only about 40 pounds, but over time and with care grows into a 250 pounds.

There are other careers in agriculture that do not involve building a trailer or a pig, such as livestock judging, and various communications careers that focus on agriculture such as personal relations.

Every student in Clark's class has a project, but he said that this varies greatly. A student could be working in a feed store, working on an agriculture related speech, working with rabbits or horses or even landscaping. For hunting season, a student may build a deer stand or food plot.

While he was teaching at Chickasha, Clark even had a student who was in aquaculture and built and bough fish for a pond.

FFA week starts Feb. 16 through Feb. 23. During this time, the students will be involved in various projects giving back to the community. They will also be appearing on KWCO-FM KOOL with George Plummer.

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