WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Bringing Ag Ed Back to Macomb High

Jun 17, 2015

The idea of starting a new agriculture education program appealed to Wyatt McGrew.  Now he will get a chance to build a program from the ground up in the Macomb School District beginning in August.

“Starting a program from scratch, you’re with those students down in the trenches Day 1. And you’re learning from each other,” McGrew said.

He said the program will promote agriculture business and agriculture sciences.  He believes those are the two fastest growing areas in the industry. 

And he hoped the program will help students develop the skills needed to succeed after graduation even if they don’t go into agriculture.

“That’s my goal for this program is to get those skills – whether it be public speaking, whether it be record keeping – those base skills that everybody needs to be successful in a career,” McGrew said.

Initial courses in the program will include environmental science, wildlife management, food science, and more.  He plans to use resources outside the classroom including Western Illinois University, Spoon River College, and Pioneer’s research farm.

Classes will initially be offered at the high school but McGrew said they could eventually expand into the junior high.

McGrew said he was raised on a family farm and graduated from Bushnell-Prairie City High School in 2007. He served one year as treasurer for the Illinois FFA, then attended Western Illinois University and graduated in 2012. 

Since then he has been employed by the Schuyler-Industry School District, where he took over a long-standing agriculture education program and served as the FFA advisor.

Ag classes are being brought back to the Macomb School District after the Macomb Agriscience Association raised enough money to pay for them.  The not-for-profit was formed with the goal of reinstituting the ag program.

“We wouldn’t have an agriculture education program if it weren’t for the support of this community. And we want to see that support continue,” said McGrew.