Agriscience education thriving in Michigan

The president of the Michigan Association of Agriscience Educators says the state is well positioned to grow the future of agricultural education.

Brian Matchett tells Brownfield agriculture’s limitless career opportunities are a large part of why the Michigan FFA Association is experiencing record student membership.

“They want to be in a program where they’re getting the most out of their school and out of their education,” he says. “On an industry level, I think we’ve also made really good strides in the last several years of helping people understand the opportunities in the agricultural industry.”

His association is focused on supporting current teachers and encouraging ag education as a career path. Matchett says those efforts are working as teacher shortages increase.

“If you look at all of the education departments at Michigan State University, the only one with an increase in enrollment is ag ed,” he shares. “It looks good. We’re doing the job, but we were ahead of this before all the hubbub of teacher shortages came around.”

Matchett says collaborations within the industry, like the Michigan Potato Commission sponsoring the association’s summer meeting, also better connects educators to stakeholders and the issues they face.

“The more that I can be aware and have firsthand experience on where things are in our industry, it helps me adjust and modify the curriculum that I teach in the classroom,” he shares. “For the students in competition seasons, when I can help visit with students around new and emerging issues in the agricultural industry, it really helps them.”

Matchett is an agriscience teacher in at a tech center Northwest Michigan and says he has a waiting list large enough to nearly double his program but is constrained by the classroom facilities.

AUDIO: Brian Matchett, Michigan Association of Agriscience Educators

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