GREENVILLE — Brad Lentz, Edison State Community College’s agriculture program director, has entered another stage in his career by accepting the new position this past fall.
Lentz, who mentored an average of 125 members per year and supervised the school’s greenhouse and garden center as a teacher and FFA adviser for Ansonia Schools 20 years before, now has 11 students in his classes.
All of those students are from Darke County but he will be recruiting students also from Mercer, Miami, Preble, Randolph, Shelby and surrounding counties.
“I go out to high schools and recruit,” he said. “I’ve probably been to 25 to 30 high schools in the counties’ range. I usually go into ag classes either for one class or stay the whole day there. I try to hit the junior and senior high schools.”
At Edison, he teaches Introduction to Agriculture the first semester, Agriculture Communications and Marketing and Agribusiness I the second semester, Introduction to Animals Science and Introduction to Agronomy and Agribusiness II the third semester and Fundamentals of Agricultural Engineering, Current Issues in Agriculture, Agriculture Finances, Agriculture Internship, Agriculture Internship Seminar and Humanities Elective fourth semester for a total of 15 semester hours and 62 program hours.
Lentz discusses with the students technology trends and techniques covering a broad spectrum of agriculture, life sciences, technology and business to prepare them to work in many areas of the industry.
Darke County is the only one around that offers this Agriculture A.A.S. two-year degree, he said.
“The degree will prepare individuals to return to the family farm and operate small businesses,” he said.
Among the students in his college classroom are Wyatt King and Logan Ressler, both senior at Franklin Monroe High School.
Both of them said they have grown up on the farm.
“This was a good opportunity,” said King. “I was planning on going to Ivy Tech. This hits hard on the agriculture part. Now, we’re setting up our own personal business and figuring out the finances.”
King, who has been the president of the Franklin Monroe FFA for three years, also attends the Ag Communication Class in the morning at ESCC.
“We are now calling the Water and Soil Conservation about a fake manure spill and tell the press about it,” said King, son of Aaron and Becky King.
Ressler, son of Shannon and Kraig Ressler, said he wants to work in agronomy. He also takes a computer class at the college.
“Since he [Lentz] has taught FFA all those years, he has the background on agriculture to date,” King said. “I like the class because it’s local. They have the classes I need and am passionate about.”
“I like that it’s good to get a small group of kids out there in agriculture and getting used to new people,” Ressler added.
“Our goal is to add about 1o kids a year and, in about four years, hopefully we will have 40 students,” Lentz said.
He said teaching in the college classroom is different somewhat than from high school.
“I’m excited to see what will happen and I think it’ll grow and take off,” he commented. “We get a lot of good support from the community and students I’ve talked to. I’m wanting to create things relevant to them and help them. I think this program is for those who want to farm to further their education to stay in farming for a long time. I want to give them a connection and networking. We teach them about environmental concerns…not just cows, sows and plows.”
He said there is a different in the students at the college level.
“I notice it’s different here,” Lentz said. “They’re genuinely interested in it. In high school, they are looking for credits and something to fill their schedules out.”
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