We’ve been writing for over a year now on the shortage of ag teachers across the state of Nebraska, knowing that we weren’t the only state with this issue. Nebraska will add 8 new FFA chapters for the 2014-15 school year, making it 30 new FFA chapters in the last 5 years! We’ve reached record highs with 157 Ag Ed programs and 7,200 FFA members. Many more schools could have added Ag Ed programs, but there just aren’t enough teachers.
As part of the National Council for Agricultural Education, the National Teach Ag campaign has developed a State Teach Ag Results (STAR) program. This program is designed to identify states with agriculture teacher shortages and assist these states in addressing the teacher shortage. I’m very excited that Nebraska was selected to be part of this program in its first year. Each selected state develops a team to work in tandem with National Teach Ag Campaign staff to develop a sustainable and effective long-term agriculture teacher recruitment and retention plan.
Nationally, there were 954 Ag Ed programs with openings in 2013. Only 460 Ag Ed graduates were looking for teaching positions. This makes the agriculture teacher deficit at 394.
I’m excited to see where this initiative goes in our state and I’m hoping that we can someday meet the demand of the great growth of Ag Ed programs in Nebraska.
How can you help? Encourage your children, students, neighbors and everyone you know to Teach Ag!