FOR MORE THAN 70 YEARS, Polk County schools have had agricultural programs as part of their curriculums. These programs have given students the opportunity to learn about an industry that is part of the fabric of the region. The Polk County School Board Agricultural Programs serve roughly 13,000 students through 17 high school programs, 18 middle school programs and three ESE Center programs. Each one of those students is given skills that apply to the agricultural industry and beyond.
It’s not just the children of active farmers, ranchers, and growers who get involved in the agricultural education programs. The students in these programs come from all backgrounds.
Finding a community
Anna Plair, a 2017 graduate of Frostproof High School, did not come from an agriculture background. Her mother is a nurse and her father is in law enforcement. She came to agriculture education in middle school as a way of finding a community.
“Frostproof is both a middle school and a high school,” Plair says. “I didn’t know a lot of people, so I was trying to find my niche. I joined the FFA, and at my first meeting, I met the teachers, and they gave me a great foundation that continued throughout my time there.”
For Plair, the educational programs were about the opportunities to interact with professionals in the field and be exposed to the many different parts of the agriculture industry. Each one of those opportunities is another chance to get experience, she says.
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