Ulster BOCES Animal Science Program Expands Agricultural Education

Ulster BOCES Animal Science Program Expands Agricultural Education

The Ulster BOCES Animal Science program was recently named as a recipient of a $10,000 Agricultural Education Incentive Grant for New Programs.

The grant will provide funding for resources to enhance the popular agricultural program. Workstations, lab stools, and the launch of an Ulster BOCES chapter of the National Future Farmers of America (FFA) Club are some of the things students have to look forward to this September thanks to the grant. 

Animal Science teacher MacKenzie Lawrence says this funding will be extremely valuable in allowing her students to have durable, professional work surfaces on which to conduct their experiments. “These additions will change the professionalism of what we are doing and advance the program setting to the industry standard,” Lawrence says.

Animal Science students Nicolette Scott and Jenna Galasso, from the Wallkill Central School District, are eager for the inception of the new academic club. The two, along with Lawrence, who will be the club’s advisor, will attend the FFA Conference from May 12-14 in Syracuse.

Scott aims to be a mixed practice veterinarian that treats animals ranging in sizes from horses and cows to dogs and snakes. She says she is planning on running for president of the FFA club. “It teaches you more skills than math and science. You learn public speaking, and leadership and people skills,” the high school junior explains. “I am really looking forward to learning about FFA and how it affects farming and animals.”

Galasso aspires to become a U.S. Army veterinarian and provide medical and surgical care to all kinds of military working animals, including military members’ family pets. She is looking forward to joining the Army after graduation and pursuing her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree.

Lawrence is proud that her program has grown to full-enrollment capacity in only two years, but through the FFA she is looking forward to other career and technical programs becoming involved with the club, such as Aviation/Drone, Business & Entrepreneurship, Culinary Arts, Electrical Construction & Maintenance, Small Engine Repair, Welding, and more.

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball says, “Agricultural education programs, like the FFA, are a powerful way to help our young people learn more about the industry and obtain the skills they need to succeed in meaningful careers in agriculture and related fields.” 

“Here in New York, we are proud to be a national leader when it comes to agriculture education, and the funding announced today through the Agricultural Education Incentive Grant program recognizes the importance of carrying that legacy forward,” he adds.

Derek Hill, the New York FFA Director states, “There is a need for and interest in making sure that all students have access to agricultural education and FFA so that they can become more informed citizens, meet the needs of the most vital industry in the world, and lead us all to a brighter future."    

Peter Harris, Director of Learning and Design for the Career Pathways Programs and Hudson Valley Pathways Academy, says he hopes the grant will further encourage young people to explore the various careers in agriculture. “The agricultural sector offers jobs that are much more than plant and animal farming,” Harris explains. “Public health, animal science environmental science/research/advocacy, securing a safe food supply, and green chemistries that prevent or reduce pollution are just some of the jobs available in this industry.”

The Agricultural Education Incentive Grant for New Programs is funded through the New York State budget and is administered by Cornell University’s Agriculture Education and Outreach Program, and the New York State FFA Association, in partnership with the Department of Agriculture and Markets, the New York State Farm Bureau, and the New York State Education Department.

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