Agriculture Department

November 1, 2013

There has been a lot happening in the agriculture classes since we last reported in.  The greenhouse was used a great deal last winter and spring.  Classes started seeds in the greenhouse back in January and plant sales continued into the middle of June.  In addition to growing the plants, we also planted many of the them around the shop building with a prairie landscaping theme.  We can now step right out the door to study plants, especially native prairie grasses.

In May, newly elected FFA Officers attended a two day training event in Aurora.  The FFA State Officer Team ran this event, teaching leadership skills and responsibilities of each office.  They also learn about what it takes to run a successful FFA Chapter.

In September, all agriculture classes went to Grand Island, Nebraska to attend the annual Husker Harvest Days Expo.  Thirty-five students attended.  There were over 600 exhibitors there representing the agriculture industry.  The main thing students gained from the trip was an exposure to the many careers in the agriculture field.

In October, nine students went to Gibbon to participate in an FFA Land Judging event.  This was a great opportunity to reinforce what they studied in class about soils. 

In June, the Agriculture Department applied for and received a matching grant of $20,000 to implement a Green Schools program in the school district.  Twenty-five percent of the grant must be matched with cash and the remaining seventy-five percent can be with in-kind donations, including labor.  The focus of the program is to have students do assessments on resources the schools (primarily the High School) use, such as water.  From this they will make recommendations to the administration of ways schools can conserve and better use our natural resources.  From data taken from similarly sized schools who have implemented conservation measures, the savings in resources and money is quite significant.  Once the assessments are completed, then the real work begins.  The funds from the grant are to be used to landscape school property using plants that are more ecologically friendly than traditional bluegrass.  The front of the agriculture/industrial arts building is an example of what the landscaping will look like.  The advantages of this landscaping should show up in less storm water run-off, less water use, less pesticide and herbicide applications, and a dramatic increase in the number and variety of organisms, such as earthworms, insect pollinators, and birds. 

On the welding front, we again have three classes with forty-five students.  Fourteen of these students are in second year studying metal fabrication.  Aside from doing their own projects they have helped repair and construct items for the community.  A couple of examples are, putting metal liners in the Keep Lexington Beautiful recycling containers and building an iron frame to hang a ship bell for the Military Vehicle Museum in town.  (see photo)