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February 13th, 2007
AMES, Iowa - The Governor's Council on Agricultural Education will hold its Summit on Agricultural Education in Iowa March 8 in part to discuss ways to counter a shortage of teachers in the state.
"The purpose of this summit is to provide a forum for leaders and stakeholders to share a vision of the role of education in the future of agriculture," said Robert Martin, chair of the Governor's Council on Agricultural Education and chair of the agricultural education and studies department at Iowa State University. The theme of the summit is "Creating Life-changing Opportunities through Agriculture, Food and Natural Resource Education."
Martin said enrollment in teacher education programs in agriculture is at an all-time low, just when the retirement of baby boomers is beginning to impact the need for teachers in agriculture and other related areas, such as science, math and consumer sciences. This shortage comes at a time when the demand for well-educated agriculturalists in all areas of the industry is at an all time high, he added.
"Iowa State typically has 20 student teachers in agriculture each year and this year we have fewer than half that number. We will not be able to fill all the open positions, and other states are experiencing similar challenges," he said. "The summit will focus on how to recruit more young people to be teachers of agriculture and develop strategies to expand educational programs into urban schools."
The Governor's Council on Agricultural Education is an advisory council established by the Iowa Legislature to study and make recommendations for the improvement of agricultural education in Iowa. Its first summit was held in 2000 and focused on how to activate "The Grand Plan for Agricultural Education in Iowa," a document outlining goals to improve agricultural education.
The summit will take place at the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, 5400 University Ave., in West Des Moines. Registration opens at 8:30 a.m. and the program begins at 9:30 a.m. There is no cost for attending the conference.
Those interested in attending may register no later than March 1 by contacting Cheryl Abrams at (515) 294-5872 or firstname.lastname@example.org.