High school to add agriculture classes

Herkimer High School students will have the chance to explore agriculture with three new classes starting in January.

Business teacher Kiley Treen will draw on her expertise in agriculture to teach Animal Science, Plant Science and an introductory course on Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (AFNR) for ninth- through 12th-graders.

The elective classes will give students another option to earn science credits. Classes will feature hands-on learning opportunities.

In the Plant Science class, students will build hydroponics units to grow plants. In the Animal Science class, Mrs. Treen hopes to have live animals, such as a rabbit and a dog, in the classroom to help students learn.

Read more: Growing interest in agriculture programs

Getting to know Ag Ed

Mrs. Treen said that she will be listening carefully to her students once the classes begin.

“There are so many different things you can do with ag,” Mrs. Treen explained. “I want to hear what interests them the most, so that as this program grows, we can give them those opportunities.

While Herkimer BOCES does offer some programs related to agriculture, Mrs. Treen pointed out that her classes will give students a good way to get introduced to the subject.

“My students will have a chance to see if agriculture is something they’d like to pursue further — at BOCES, or even in college,” Mrs. Treen said.

FFA opportunities

Once the classes begin in January, Mrs. Treen also hopes to start a Herkimer chapter of FFA, formerly known as Future Farmers of America. The extracurricular program gives students the chance to learn and compete in a variety of disciplines, including public speaking, animal judging, tractor driving and a host of other areas.

“It’s a really cool opportunity for the kids,” Mrs. Treen said, noting also that FFA offers a wealth of scholarships and travel opportunities for interested students.

Whether students take only one ag class, or get deeply involved in the subject, Mrs. Treen said she hopes they will get the same thing out of it: “They can learn more about what’s around them, where their food comes from, and about the opportunities that are out there after high school,” she said.