Comment Column: The Family Farm, A Classroom Like No Other

Posted on Sep 14, 2020

I’m blessed to have grown up on our family farm in Clark County. It taught me the benefits of hard work as I learned through hands-on activities that took place every day. I discovered how to grow crops, care for animals, and to be a good steward of the land. It was a classroom like no other and my parents set an example that I carry with me daily.

In learning those valuable lessons, I saw the value of a good education, whether it came from the farm or the classroom, and I knew it would be something I would have for my entire life.

My love of agriculture played such an important role through my school years, especially the agricultural education I received at the high school level. One agriculture teacher in particular, Jack Wise, was very instrumental in encouraging me to follow through on goals and objectives, especially in times of doubt.   

He not only taught me how to think through a problem and to apply the knowledge I gained from my books, but I learned leadership skills that would serve me in the real world. I learned to show others respect and, by doing so, found I gained the same in return.

We have, in this state, some of the most devoted ag-ed teachers you will find anywhere teaching these lessons. Because of their dedication, another generation is receiving the quality education they will depend on throughout the rest of their lives.

No matter where my career has taken me, from the farm gate, to the legislature, to the boardroom, and all places in between, I have used the educational tools I received as an ag education student on a daily basis.

We must also pay tribute to our institutions of higher learning, positioned in all regions of Kentucky, which provide the agriculture research and instruction needed for us to prosper in our agricultural endeavors.  The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment Extension Service is a most valuable resource for all farmers and agriculturists, as well as all of our citizens.

Something that has always impressed me when it comes to agricultural education are the partnerships that have been created at various levels in communities and statewide. Be it collaboration between teachers, involvement by local businesses or the support that comes from organizations like Kentucky Farm Bureau (KFB), the effort that is made for the betterment of these students is like no other.

One of the things I’m most proud of is the KFB scholarship program that awards hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to Kentucky high school and college students. This year, a total of 443 state and county scholarships, worth more than $533,300, were awarded. County Farm Bureaus take such pride in awarding these scholarships which have helped pave the way, educationally, for countless students over the years.

In my time spent teaching at UK, I encountered numerous students who had benefited from these scholarships as they moved forward to receive their degrees.

Thanks to all of our teachers for their efforts in teaching our young people, and a special thanks to the many agricultural educators who continue to change lives and strengthen the very industry that sustains us all. They are God’s blessing to all of us.

Drew Graham, Executive Vice President
Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation