Ag classes are important


In landscaping, many classes are spent outside working with our hands.

Emily Mears, assistant editor

In high school, the majority of the academic focus is on the math, English, and science departments. Those students striving for an academic honors diploma are desperate to take as many core classes as they can in order to get into a good college. Unfortunately, all the required classes on this academic track make it difficult to fit in any elective courses. Therefore, these courses get overlooked. This is regrettable. DCHS has a wide variety of elective classes to choose from, and arguably the agricultural electives are some of the most important classes offered, yet they are neglected by a majority of the student body. 


Senior Micah Lawless agrees. “They are good classes to be in and I would highly recommend them if you are interested in agriculture,” said Micah. However, the agriculture classes offered at DCHS have importance even if your passions lie elsewhere. 


Let’s be real here. Ten years from now most of us don’t see ourselves living on our family farm and holding on to the traditional American values that agriculture represents.  And that’s okay. What most students don’t think about, though, is the practical knowledge that many agricultural electives provide.


For instance, most likely we will all have our own home one day. Learning how to take care of a yard and garden is covered in horticulture class. A basic landscaping class will arm you with many practical homeowner skills (such as where the best places to plant trees are and what types of species to avoid), and all the skills you learn are hands-on. You don’t have to have a degree in agricultural or horticulture to enjoy and find purpose in your yard looking nice and aesthetically pleasing. 


Animal science is equally important. If you are wanting to have pets one day, understanding their immune system is as important as understanding how your own immune system works. This includes more than just farm animals such as hogs and cattle. Just general knowledge of average household animals such as cats and dogs can be beneficial. 


Another ag class that is a little less practical but still offers great benefits is welding class.  Welding is overall a great trade to get into that opens countless windows of opportunities.  It’s a great trade. And you never know, it could come in handy fixing something down the road.


Mr. Doug Walker, department head of the DCHS agriculture department, is proud of all of the courses offered in his department, but he considers Agribusiness one of the most important classes that you could take throughout your high school career. It teaches you everything from taxes to supply and demand. These topics include types of business structure, credit cards, loans, and other life skills. In fact, Mr. Walker brags that many Delphi alumni say that Agribusiness was not only one of their favorite classes in high school, but also the most practical. 


Besides all of the practical skills learned in ag classes, you can also learn about farming. Have you ever heard this statement: If you eat food, you should thank a farmer. Farming is all around us and it’s important to be educated on the topic so you can be knowledgeable about a topic that impacts all of us.


As junior Braydon Mccarty says, “Ag is beneficial to students for many reasons. For starters, it teaches students life lessons. Secondly, it allows students to venture into many different pathways and see what the future can hold for them. Last but most certainly not least, it teaches the students the importance of food production and distribution.” 


And of course our ag teachers, such as Mr. Plank, agree. “At one point in time 98% of people in the United States were farmers and 2% were not. Now less than 2% of the US population are considered farmers. So I know that not very many students are going to be farmers, but agriculture is so much more than farming. Regardless of if you are in Delphi, Indiana or Chicago, Illinois, it’s important to know where your food comes from . . . before it gets to the supermarket.” 


Many people in today’s society don’t realize that the chicken nugget and the egg come from the same animal. Part of that is due to lack of agriculture education and because most people nowadays are three generations disconnected from the farm. That means you don’t farm, your parents didn’t farm, and your grandparents didn’t farm. This has caused countless problems that has led to fear marking and GMO (genetically modified organism) stigmas. Being educated in agriculture, which holds more topics than just horticulture, welding, and animal science, can prevent and stop false marketing, or at least help us, as consumers, to be more educated in what we are buying. No farmer will give his livestock anything bad for them, just as they wouldn’t feed their families anything bad for them. 


We are losing farm ground at a rapid rate, so it is as important now as ever to stay educated in agriculture, and you never know, trying an ag related skill may become your new hobby.