It’s a busy Thursday at the Wilton FFA farm.
“Write the color description,” instructed longtime agriculture teacher Bill Hammes.
Hammes, with 25 years at Wilton High, puts students and lambs through their paces.
This outdoor lab is one reason why the FFA program, or Future Farmers of America, is bigger than ever in Iowa.
“There’s something for everyone,” Hammes said. “Along with that, it helps them develop goals for themselves.”
About 100 Wilton students participate in FFA. They’re joining more than 14,200 Iowa teens in the program. That’s a record enrollment.
They learn about animals and agriculture.
“It’s exciting that a lot of kids are getting into agriculture,” said Kaleb Schmidt, 18, who serves as president of Wilton’s FFA.
Since leadership is a big component, FFA programs continue to grow. These are lessons from the land designed for life.
As youngsters prepare lambs for a healthy life at the farm, FFA also helps students to learn more about science, business and decision-making. These are important skills both on and off the farm.
“I think it’s going to help me more knowing what I want to do when I get older,” said Taylor Kearney, 16, a Wilton FFA member. “Help me to decide if I want to get into agriculture work.”
But even if these teens don’t become farmers, they’ll take a new appreciation for agriculture from the experience.
“It’s good just to know how to talk to people, get out of your comfort zone and learn new things,” Schmidt said.
Wilton students are just back from Iowa State. That’s where they learned how to ignite their present and future at the state FFA conference.
“FFA and agriculture education have evolved to fit modern agriculture,” Hammes concluded.
A lesson from Wilton’s FFA helping to set record enrollment.