CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Area agriculture education programs are being recognized this week as part of National Agriculture Week.
Betsy Ranalli, field representative for U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-tenn., visited her high school alma mater, Bradley Central High School, on Tuesday as part of the tribute.
“With over 80,000 Tennessee farms, agriculture is tremendously important to our state and you are the future of that industry,” Sen. Corker said in a news release to FFA and 4-H members across the state.
Bradley Central’s agriculture program has won 40 gold medals from the National FFA. That’s a national record. There are 7,200 FFA chapters across the country.
“The name is FFA now, and not Future Farmers of America, because the program covers so much more,” said Richard Ledford, instructor at Bradley Central. Landscaping and horticulture as well as traditional farm programs are part of FFA, he said.
“Probably about 50 percent of FFA students are female,” he said. “Many of our students get an introduction to botany and other sciences through here.”
Ms. Ranalli spoke to some students receiving certificates from Sen. Corker in recognition for the local programs.
“Leaders in agriculture are probably going to lead the way in energy,” she said. “So there is a great, big world out there for you.”
Students were busy Tuesday morning in one of the school’s greenhouses, transplanting spring bedding plants and preparing for the annual spring bedding plant sale.
Plants are grown from seed, instructor Luann Carey said. More than 25,000 plants, including bedding plants, perennials and shrubs, will be available during the sale, she said.
Student Jonathan Townsend was among the group in the greenhouse.
“We’ve always had plants and stuff. My whole family does this. So I thought I would do it,” he said.
NATIONAL AGRICULTURE DAY
When: March 20 (first day of spring)
Sponsor: Agriculture Council of America
Randall Higgins covers news in Cleveland, Tenn., for the Times Free Press. He started work with the Chattanooga Times in 1977 and joined the staff of the Chattanooga Times Free Press when the Free Press and Times merged in 1999. Randall has covered Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Alabama. He now covers Cleveland and Bradley County and the neighboring region. Randall is a Cleveland native. He has bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University. His awards ...