DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA) — Students typically take the summer off, but not at the Andreas Agricultural Academy, where they have a new farm with crops and livestock, and work there daily, as Stu Ellis reports…
Nakya Smith of Eisenhower and Calel Walsch of MacArthur High Schools were hard at work landscaping around the newly built barn at the Andreas Academy Farm on Decatur’s southwestern corner where several acres of vegetables, flowers, and even some corn and soybeans were being grown on the expansive grounds of Enterprise Elementary school.
They were being supervised by Jenna Baker, a University of Illinois senior in agricultural education.
To have this much success in its first year is practically unheard of and one of the reasons this program was started was because Decatur has so many agriculture companies, such as ADM and Tate and Lyle, and we kind of want to create a pipeline to send students into the work force in those companies, so I think its really amazing that we were able to have this much success in the first year, absolutely.
The Andreas Academy farm provides dirt and manure experience for students who have classroom training during the school year, along with the benefits of FFA chapters…
One of the most impressive things is that it is all student-run, so the sheep that we have here on this farm, the students said that they wanted sheep, so that is what we did and they had to go through the process of getting this area zoned for sheep because it wasn’t previously zoned for that and we have students out here anywhere between 2 and 4 students everyday working on the farm and even outside of the farm, within the ag program itself and the FFA chapter, my fellow intern Kathy Ferrin from Western Illinois University and I just planned the MacArthur FFA officer retreat and those FFA officers have some amazing plans for the upcoming school year.
That’s our report from the Farm, the Andreas Ag Academy farm in Decatur. I’m Stu Ellis with WCIA3 your local news leader.