Today is Thursday, August 17, 2017

Green Acres of MJHS the 'place to be'

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Photos courtesy of Sherie Grossman and Mitzi Pigg
Photos courtesy of Sherie Grossman and Mitzi Pigg
Photos courtesy of Sherie Grossman and Mitzi Pigg
Photos courtesy of Sherie Grossman and Mitzi Pigg
Photos courtesy of Sherie Grossman and Mitzi Pigg
Photos courtesy of Sherie Grossman and Mitzi Pigg
Photos courtesy of Sherie Grossman and Mitzi Pigg
Photos courtesy of Sherie Grossman and Mitzi Pigg

There was a lot of mooing, quacking and neighing going on at Mt. Juliet High School Friday.

And yes, a renegade heifer cut loose when the squealing pigs got on her last nerve. But she was corralled, with no harm, and enjoyed her five minutes of fame.

The 14th annual Agriculture Day put on a show for the entire student body to teach about farm life and job opportunities in the agriculture field.

FFA (Future Farmers of America) advisor and ag teacher Mitzi Pigg organized the event. She said there is a misconception the agriculture field centers on the farm. In fact, less than 2 percent of our country's agriculture revolves on farming.

Agribusiness is key in the field with local garden centers such as Needham's and Moss' good examples, as well as plant science businesses and greenhouses, along with a host of emerging high tech ag jobs.

The school's Ag Department and the school's FFA Club sponsored the day.

Pigg has taught at MJHS 11 years. The farm "relocated" to the school and sprawled across the campus.

The day in the life of agriculture included many animals, quite a few owned by the students. Reptiles, rabbits, ferrets, pigs and even prairie dogs represented the "small" animal population.

Larger farm animals such as goats, sheep, pigs and their piglets, and beautiful Arabian horses delighted the students, many of whom never stepped foot outside suburbia.

This year, the day included tents representing area colleges such as UT Martin and TSU to recruit prospective ag students to their programs.

"Agriculture continues to feed and clothe us," Pigg said. "Sadly, some people don't appreciate this. This is a paramount field. We wanted to tell our students about the vast amount of opportunities it provides for future careers."

Several large tractors were on site for the students to see. The Wildlife Management class even had a fake tree with a student dressed in camouflage sitting in a tree stand.

Pigg knows farm life well. She grew up on a farm on Posey Hill Road, and her dad is the famed Dr. Cliff Ricketts who just retired after 46 years in ag education and as a professor of agriculture at Middle Tennessee State University.

"I followed my dad and was a part of FFA," Pigg said. "Our field has scientists, geneticists and digital equipment experts."

There are about 125 FFA students at Mt. Juliet High School.

"Our ag course is a very viable one," Pigg said. "Kids who don't want ag, they take the vet or plant science courses.

"A lot of students have never been on a farm and they are taken aback by the smells that come with this," said Pigg. "Generally, we get a good response."

MJHS Principal Mel Brown walked about the exhibits as well. Many of the faculty got a kick out of the day that was a highlight right before fall break.

Writer Laurie Everett can be reached at laurieeverett1@gmail.com.

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Ag Day, Agriculture, animals, education, farm, MJHS, Mt. Juliet, Mt. Juliet High School, students
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