GREENVILLE — Director Brad Lentz feels the new agribusiness program and his new position at Edison State Community College (ESCC) are going well, 5/12 months into it.
“The program is going as I thought it would,” he said. “There is a lot of paperwork that goes to the state to get approved to build classes. The papers have been turned over to the Ohio Department of Higher Education and then they will go to the Higher Learning Commission before we’re certified and that will hopefully be next month. Maybe next fall we will offer a full-blown program.”
It was launched in the fall, right after the Great Darke County Fair, and Lentz brought to the program 20 years of experience as an ag educator. He began teaching in Ansonia in 1966.
“I knew a couple of years ago they [those at ESCC] were exploring the idea and sent a survey to local ag teachers to see if there was a need and they determined there was,” Lentz said. “Last year they posted it, and I was ready for a change.”
Those at ESCC felt Lentz’s prior experience in agricultural education would prove to be instrumental as he helped to build and support the new program, said Dean Chad Beanblossom.
According to Lentz, the work is similar as to when he was teaching in the school room.
“I am still educating about agriculture, but I have more flexibility,” he said. “I just have classes and not the extra projects like I had when I had the FFA.”
Lentz, who holds a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from The Ohio State University and holds a Master of Arts in Teaching and learning from Kaplan University, learned about the prospective program, still helps out with the Ansonia Alumni FFA and is its secretary-treasurer.
He indicated ESCC will be forming an alliance with Wright State University’s Lake Campus, which offers to bachelor’s degrees.
“When I send them up there, they’ll be ready,” he said. “Wright State has had its program for seven years and offers more classes.”
Lentz has plans on attending the state FFA convention in May and putting up a booth, letting people know about the course offering.
“If businesses want to work with us, I’m up to it,” he said. “We’re the number 1 agricultural county in the state. Having this is critical to fulfill the kind of jobs in this area. I think it will be good for our area.”
Lentz said he is at the college almost every day.
“I do a lot of small courses at the Darke County Extension Office,” he said.
His classes at Edison could last an hour and 15 minutes for a lecture class and two to three hours for a lab class.
“We work with Greenville High School for use of their lab facilities if needed,” he reported.
He has also been actively involved with both agricultural andducational organizations, including the Ohio Association of Agricultural Educators, Ansonia Education Association, Ansonia FFA Alumni, National Association of Agricultural Educators, Ohio and National Education Association, Ohio Association of Career and Technical Education, Ohio Farm Bureau and American Hort.
The flexibility of his job also allows Lentz to spend more time with his family — wife Casey and three children, 9, 6, 3 years of age.
“We are extremely excited to have the opportunity to add programs that never existed in Darke County. Obviously, it is a very relevant field, and we’re excited to be a part of that,” Beanblossom said about the program.
This writer may be reached at 937-569-4315. Follow her on Facebook and join the conversation and get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.