Ivy Tech School Proud of Collegiate FFA Charter

Ag programs picking up steam at community colleges.

Published on: Oct 3, 2011

Lily Hayhurst is pursuing a college degree in agriculture, and she didn't have to leave home to do it. Whether that's a good thing or bad thing depends upon whether you're talking to her or her sister. Her younger sister, Hayley, a typical sibling, soon realized that meant her older sister wouldn't be moving out of the house since she could go to college nearby.

However, Lily likes the ability to attend college and work to help earn her way at the same time. She's attending Ivy Tech near Terre Haute. It's one of the Ivy tech campuses now offering agriculture as a course of study. In fact, the Terre Haute campus is now home to a collegiate FFA Chapter. Purdue University now has one as well.

"It is a really neat opportunity," Hayhurst says. "I enjoy being involved in our chapter."

Offerings in agriculture vary from site to site in the Ivy Tech system. Ivy Tech at Columbus began in earnest about 3 years ago, offering classes in agriculture. The current instructor there says that now they're starting to get students who choose to come to Ivy Tech to take ag as their first choice, instead of coming because they couldn't go anywhere else.

While the Columbus campus doesn't have a chartered FFA Chapter yet, they do have what's called an Ag Ambassadors program, led by David Rust, Cortland, who is also heavily involved in a leadership role in the larger campus community besides his efforts at bringing more ag activities to students at Ivy Tech.

Ivy Tech is adapting to help students interested in agriculture in two different directions. First, they have agreements with a number of high school ag programs and other programs in secondary schools to offer dual credit for certain courses. For example, students in Horticulture at Franklin Community High School, Franklin, qualify for college credit through Ivy Tech.

On the other side of the spectrum, they are working with various colleges to help students earning a two-year degree go on to get a four year degree in specific options if they choose. Often the options involve ag business management or marketing. These agreements continue to evolve as students ask for help in designing programs that help them get the education they want and need for the future.