We asked agriculture educators from across the state what makes their career awesome.
Merging Agriculture and Working with People
"Teaching Ag has been very rewarding for me over the years at both the high school and university levels. It allows me to merge the two areas I truly enjoy and respect – Agriculture and Working with People. It is awesome and humbling to see students making a difference in agriculture and their communities while knowing that you played a role in their lives. "
Jon C. Simonsen, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Ag Education & Leadership, University of Missouri
Influence Future Generations
"I teach ag to influence future generations of agriculturists to achieve their potential in FFA and in the classroom."
Avery Deevers, Crest Ridge
Variety & Diversity
"To me one of the best parts of Teaching Ag is the variety and diversity that it provides. Over the course of one day, you can go from planting flowers in the greenhouse, to teaching public speaking to working on engines in the shop and then show up the next day and judge livestock, help kids learn the importance of parliamentary procedure and then teach kids how to weld. It is ever changing, never boring, hands on and allows you to have fun while helping to make a positive impact in the lives of your students and community."
Brent Niemeyer, Sweet Springs
"My Ag teacher, Mr. Robert Norton, encouraged me as an FFA member. I wanted to do something to give back to the organization that meant so much to me as a student FFA member. I teach ag because it is a part of me."
Johnny Viebrock, Smithville
Changing the World
"Be the change you want to see in the world" ~ Gandhi
I had a student make me a sign with this quote on it because she felt this is what I challenged them to do each day. Step up and be part of the solution to change the parts of our world that are not positive. I had no intention of becoming an ag teacher when I entered college, but after a year engaging with students and FFA members as a state FFA officer, I knew agriculture education was my true calling. The impact I can have in a classroom to positively change the lives of my students, I never know how far that reach truly goes. Like a stone cast on the water, the ripple continues. The lessons learned in the agriculture classroom far outweigh the agriculture knowledge and skills and also encompass change that will make our country better and our families stronger. I don’t know how far my reach is, but I know I will do my part in that inspiring task and to be the change I hope to see in our world.
Colleen Abbott, Missouri Ag Education Professional Development Specialist
"I love agriculture and FFA. What other occupation could I go into to share my passion and make an impact on the future? What I didn't realize is I would be getting a wonderful, caring, and tight-knit family. Teaching Ag in Missouri has the benefit of 500+ of your family members sharing information, helping your students, and being there to celebrate the victories and to support you in the hard times."
Marie Davis, Missouri FFA Executive Treasurer & DESE Northeast District Supervisor
"Every day is a new day when teaching ag! I love sharing my passion of agriculture with students and watching them accomplish their goals through FFA. Agriculture and FFA are useful to every student no matter where the future may take them! I love knowing what I teach is useful to everyone!"
Renee Baird, Farmington
Building Community & Family Relationships
"Agricultural Education teachers can make an immeasurable positive impact in a community by building relationships with students and their families. The education and experiences Ag Ed teachers provide to students overflows into the future success of the community as these students become the leaders, farmers, and business people who lead within the community. No matter the size of the community, having a high-quality Agricultural Education program makes a huge positive impact and that all starts with a high-quality teacher."
Steven Rogers, DESE Southwest District Supervisor
Diversity of Agriculture
"I tell my students, “Everything can be linked to agriculture.” Agriculture is so broad and diverse that being able to teach it to students and community members opens doors for no only them but me. No one knows everything here on earth so be open to learn new things and agriculture is an awesome way to accomplish that!"
Alissa Swindell, Delta
Fun, Challenging, and Rewarding Career
“I am an agriculture teacher by choice and not by chance.” The first sentence of the Agriculture Teacher’s Creed describes my choice to serve students as an agriculture teacher. Teaching agriculture is a fun, challenging, and rewarding career. If you have a passion for agriculture and like to work with people, then we need you as an agriculture teacher."
John Tummons, Ph.D., Ag Education & Leadership, University of Missouri
Ag Ed Family
"I teach Ag Ed because I would go absolutely crazy if I had a job where I had to sit down for 8 hours a day, I love being able to do so many different things; teach, do SAE visits, FFA event, train teams ect. It is absolutely the greatest job in the world and I would not trade this career and being part of the AG ED family for anything!"
Josh Bondy, Paris
"The reason you teach ag is to teach the next generation about the future of our food supply. You also have to achieve the passion to motivate kids to become leaders. We teach ag because it is the one program that will affect every student every time in their lives one way or another. It's the best industry to be involved with."
Gary Reichel, Eldon
Cultivate Agriculture Students
"Are you interested in cultivating and growing the next generation of agriculturalists and leaders? – If so, you can accomplish this by becoming a teacher of agriculture. As an agriculture educator, you will mold, lead, and create an environment where students will grow and accomplish their goals as individuals and members of a team. Just as a gardener cultivates the soil and plants to produce food, you will cultivate the students to become farmers, business owners, salesmen, and many other careers in agriculture. Consider a career in Agriculture Education."
Keith Dietzschold, Missouri FFA Executive Secretary & DESE Northwest District Supervisor
"I love teaching agriculture! Every class is different and allows me to teach a variety of subject matter. If we don't educate the future and show agriculture in a positive light, who will? One of my favorite things about teaching is seeing students succeed — not just in FFA, but in the classroom as well. That includes building a project, learning to weld, seeing their seeds germinating, building a glucose molecule and understanding the structure behind photosynthesis, and so much more. The classroom for agriculture isn't just the four walls — it takes the shop, greenhouse, farm, animals, jobs, CDE/LDE, and the lessons learned are so applicable to life and carry with them forever."
Tiffany Kauffman, Seymour
Spread the Passion
"I teach ag because it allows me to spread the passion that I have for the industry. It allows me to work with the best of the best students and watch them excel and attain goals they never realized they were capable of before agricultural education. I get to be a part of feeding the world, developing leaders, and speaking up as an advocate for the greatest vocation on Earth."
Angel Roller, Seneca R–7
Make an Impact
"Teaching agriculture is more than just a job, it is a career which provides you with the opportunity to make an impact in the lives of many people. Whether it is in the classroom, on a SAE visit, or attending a conference with students, they are always learning and you are being given the opportunity to teach them. Teaching agriculture allows you to educate students on agriculture, develop soft skills for future careers, help them become educated consumers, and prepare them for the future. The agricultural education profession is an organization and career where you can always pick up the phone or send an e-mail and ask another teacher for help. It is a family of career professionals who work together to create outstanding students and professionals for the future."
Deanna Thies, Boonslick Tech Ed Center
Fun—Every Single Day
"Ag Education is a great career choice for anyone who is interested in developing students who are great ambassadors for agriculture. It is challenging, diverse, and most of all fun- every single day. The rewards of seeing students meet and exceed their challenges and goals is priceless. I changed careers after several years of teaching and missed the interactions with students and the agriculture community. I came back to my first career and have never regretted it!"
Lori Lewis, Centralia
Shaping the Future
"Teaching agriculture is an excellent way to see new opportunities open up to our students. We are a part of shaping their future. We use hands on learning for students to assist them with future career goals in and out of agriculture. We educate students to be future ag experts in their chosen career after high school."
Darren Farmer, Polo
Touch a Student's Life
"Ag education is profession where a person can touch a student’s life and that influence can eventually lead to that student’s success. I left ag education to go to an ag industry profession. I do not regret that opportunity, but I received another chance to come back into ag education and I have never regretted the move back into the ag education profession."
Chuck Wilson, East Buchanan
Develop Leaders of Tomorrow
"Agriculture instructors develop leaders of tomorrow and expose our students to new careers and paths in the field of agriculture. Our goal is to provide the ingredients to promote personal growth, leadership, and career success."
Jay Hale, West Plains
"Why teach ag: because every day is a new day, with new opportunities and experiences."
Sarah Peterson, Mansfield
"I was drawn to teaching because of agriculture. Being able to share my passion for the industry and the FFA with my students has become a major motivator for me to continue to become a better teacher. I may never know the full impact that I make on my students, but I know that it is a give and take relationship, and that I learn as much from them as they do from me."
Duane Melton, Tipton
Make a Difference
"If you want a career that is fun, challenging, rewarding, different every day and allows you to make a difference, choose agricultural education. I don’t know what else I could have done that would have been as rewarding as teaching ag."
Kyle Whittaker, Marshfield
"Teach Ag Ed to make a difference in your community and encourage students to make a difference in each other’s lives."
Angie Hamlin, Highland
I teach. What’s your superpower?
"Teaching ag empowers you, as a teacher, to know that you have impacted the life of each student. Your students will look up to you, unlike in any other profession or unlike in any other teacher. Because as an agriculture teacher, you know that you can reach the students, push them and find them something that they can be successful in- and you will be reminded of this the rest of your life."
Mike Keilholz, Professor, Ag Education, University of Central Missouri
New & Exciting
"Every day is new and exciting."
James McCormack, Jackson
Intrigue Their Minds
"I love learning and teaching about new, innovative agriculture practices for students to intrigue their minds. Creating tightly bonded relationships with students that last a lifetime makes my heart happy. I just don’t teach agriculture, I teach/talk to students about choices, relationships, moral responsibilities, and their character. You can’t help but smile when moments pop into your mind of students that hold a special place in your heart."
Heather Johnson, Salem
Positive Impact for the Future
"Every single day, you have an opportunity to positively impact young men and women for their future."
Jason Dieckhoff, Cass Career Center
"This is the next part to the FFA experience from high school. Not many join the Alumni or have local Alumni programs. Teaching ag is the way to stay connected to the National FFA Organization. Why compete in contests, preficiency awards, state degrees, and attend FFA Camp when you can teach it!
Nathan Sanders, Couch
Top 3 Reasons
"There is no way I could narrow down the reasons to teach ag to one, so I’ll pick three.
- Teaching high school kids keeps me young. I am nearly 50 years old and still love doing all the activities that my students enjoy. Being around young, energetic people will help keep your energy level up.
- I’ve never had the same day twice. While I always have a general idea of what I want to do each day, it never goes exactly as planned, which is a big part of the fun. I tell my students that in ag, we are nothing if not flexible. We don’t worry, we don’t get rattled, we just overcome challenges!
- It’s a good life. I am proud of my students and former students. I don’t go anywhere within 50 miles of my school that I can’t find a friendly face that I know because I am a teacher: kids, parents, business people. I am respected in my community and very grateful and although maybe not monetarily rich, I feel rich in so many other ways.
Jonathan Hoer, Ag Education & Leadership, University of Missouri
Wide Range of Experiences
"I had the good fortune to have taught ag at the high school, community college, and ag teacher education levels and at the university level. I also spent time in state administration, local administration, and as President of a two year technical college. Each of those experiences resulted in a very rewarding career for me. Much of what I learned as an ag teacher prepared me for the success I had in the other areas of my professional career. Teaching ag provided a wide range of experiences that helped prepare me to work with business and industry as well as in educational administration. The one thing I liked most about teaching high school ag was that there was a place for the special needs students as well as the straight A student."
Dr. Don Claycomb, Former President- State Technical College of Missouri, Linn, Current member of the State Board of Education
No Career Choice More Worthwhile
"Of the 300+ careers in agriculture there is no career choice more worthwhile and rewarding than being an agriculture teacher. Agriculture teachers provide students with opportunities the students need to grow their passion for agriculture into a successful career in our nations #1 industry, Agriculture. In addition to teaching applied sciences, agriculture teachers provide their students with the development of technical and employability skills. Spending your days helping students achieve success in career exploration and career preparation activities at multiple levels give agriculture teachers a great sense of accomplishment."
Leon Busdieker, Missouri State FFA Advisor and Director of Ag Education