As early as next planting season, Belle Plaine High School students could get some first-hand experience with the ins and outs of running a farming operation through the school district.
Thanks to a partnership between the school district and local agriculture education leadership, including Bruce Mathiowetz, students participating in FFA or ag. education interested in learning more about the entire process of running a farming operation may soon be able to do so. Everything - from purchasing seeds to planting to using state-of-the-art GPS technology and marketing and selling the product - could be on the table, according to Belle Plaine Superintendent Ryan Laager.
“Our kids are going to get real experience and get a take on what farming actually is,” Laager said.
The district land in the area surrounding Oak Crest Elementary, which has previously been rented out to area farmers for the purpose of generating revenue to cover the tax costs of owning land not used for educational purposes, would be the targeted location. The 71 acres would give students a substantial, yet manageable portion of land to work, Laager said.
The details of the program are not finalized, but Laager believes the program could involve partnerships with local farmers with access to equipment and seed sellers and would serve as a low-risk, high-reward educational scenario.