LIMA — Lima Senior High School has never had an FFA program, until now.
There are five students enrolled in the new two-year agricultural education program.
On Tuesday, a ribbon-cutting was held, dedicating Spartan Farm on land on East Chapman Road, east of the old ODOT garage and currently owned by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections.
“This has been in the making since 2018, so we’ve come a long way in almost three years to get to where we are today,” said Jill Ackerman, superintendent of Lima schools. “We’re excited about these opportunities for our kids to be able to experience agriculture and helping them to realize that there’s so much more to agriculture than just farming. Welding and all kinds of careers can be intertwined with this.”
Noah Edwards, a junior at Lima senior, is FFA president and student advisor.
He’s hoping to use the program to help him understand the farming business better, with a goal to ultimately become a livestock veterinarian.
“This is the perfect opportunity for me. We’re going to learn about livestock management, small engines, big engines, all kinds of stuff here,” Edwards said.
The 30-acre site will allow the students to experience first-hand what farming is all about.
“This site was leased from the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections to be our agronomy lab, our Spartan Farm. Students are going to get the chance for grain and crop production, as well as learn about agronomy, natural resources and other important pieces of agriculture,” said Danial Maltsbarger, agriculture educator and FFA advisor at Lima Senior.
This fall, the students are planting a cover crop of cereal rye to protect the soil and then in the spring they will plant soybeans. The program is also utilizing classrooms at Lima Senior and garden space being developed at the former Emerson School site.
Edwards is excited about the hands-on experience he’ll gain through the program.
“The hands-on opportunity is so much more beneficial to students than reading from a book or just lectures,” Edwards said.
“We are really the only junior-senior ag program in our community, and we look forward to taking the lead and really helping improve our local community,” Maltsbarger said.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.