As schools head back into session this September, more students will be able to take courses that previously were not available to them. Minnesota has experienced continuous demand for high school agriculture, food, and natural resource (AFNR) education programs. Since 2005, 27 school districts have added programs and 75 additional teaching positions had to be filled across the state. This is a 13% increase in AFNR programs, with no signs of demand slowing for the upcoming school year.
To accommodate heightened interest, many school districts are investing in the development of new AFNR programs. Additionally, some single-teacher programs have expanded with the addition of a second or third teacher, allowing for greater breadth and depth of AFNR courses. The increased demand for these programs leads to consistent shortfalls in available agriculture teachers. Minnesota’s State Teach Ag Results (STAR) committee has been working to improve awareness of the agriculture teacher profession, including several recruitment and retention strategies, and is excited to announce a brand-new website - teachagmn.org.
Minnesota’s Teach Ag website serves as a key resource for those interested in learning more about AFNR education. The website is organized in four main categories: Explore-Become-Grow-Thrive. This teacher development journey is courtesy of Imprint, an initiative of the Minnesota Education Equity Partnership. They are designed to simulate an individual's path through the teaching profession.
On the website, individuals can learn more about becoming an agriculture, food, and natural resources teacher and the pathways to fulfilling that goal. They can find testimonials of current teachers, and links to universities and transfer colleges. It also has information for current agriculture instructors to find professional development, mentorship, and opportunities as they become more tenured instructors. In addition to the website, individuals can connect with Minnesota Teach Ag by following on Facebook (@TeachAgMinnseota), Instagram (@teachagmn), and LinkedIn (Teach Ag Minnesota).
This article was submitted by the Minnesota Agricultural Education Leadership Council.