The Byron-Bergen community’s agricultural heritage was celebrated on June 2 with the Junior/Senior High School’s fourth annual Agriculture Appreciation Day – better known as the bring-your-tractor-to-school-day. Brothers Garrett and Wyatt Sando were the first to arrive in their carefully restored and shining 1973 white tractor. They were soon joined by other students with their farm vehicles, large and small, including a classic 1952 Farmall.
Science teacher Jeff Parnapy is excited about the important role agriculture will play in education at the school next year. He is spearheading the new agriculture program, which will launch in the fall with an Intro to Ag class and a new Byron-Bergen chapter of Future Farmers of America (FFA).
“We’ve been working with our Advisory Council, a wonderful group of experienced people from the community, to plan and organize the program,” he said. “Our Superintendent, Mickey Edwards, and Principal Pat McGee, recognize the interest our students have in agriculture and natural resources. We already have 22 students signed up for the first class.”
Junior Garrett Sando is one of them. His family owns 75 acres and he has had his tractor license since ninth-grade. “I’m really interested in trying the program out,” he said.
Parnapy is excited to work with young people who are interested in building futures in agriculture. He taught agriculture in Albion schools before coming to Byron-Bergen in 2000, and sees similarities between the two communities.
“My hope is to launch the program and expand it every year. The FFA chapter will be open to kids in grades 9-12 for the first year, with plans to extend it to grades 7-8 when it is solidly established,” said Parnapy.