September 19, 2023

Back to the Farm: Bear River Agricultural Department Stays Busy All Summer

As area schools prepare to open in the coming weeks, the agriculture department and FFA classes at Bear River High School have been busy throughout the summer.

Morgan Perry, an agricultural mechanics instructor at Bear River, said his department’s contracts add about 40 days to the typical school year, allowing teachers to work through the summer.

After a busy school year, in which its parliamentary procedure team won the state championship, the Bear River Agricultural Department is ready for the upcoming Nevada County Fair, which will be held Wednesday through August 12.

“We have animals and we have students showing cattle,” Perry said. “For us, that includes goats, sheep, pigs, steers, heifers and dairy cows. These are all sold at the livestock auction on Sunday August 12. I also have farm mechanics students creating projects to sell at the farm mechanics auction which is on August 10th.

Perry explained that his students work with 4-H members and show animals in the same way, but in different classes than 4-H teams. Animals are judged on market readiness, how it behaves, and how well the student has worked with the animal.

Once the fair is over, Perry said, the children will soon return to school, where this year Bear River is partnering with Sierra College to offer FFA students dual enrollment in select classes.

“We’ll be running a dual-enrollment farm mechanics class for our sophomore year, which means they’ll be following the Sierra College class at Bear River High School,” Perry explained. “A lot of people think young farm mechanics don’t go to college, and that’s very far from the truth. About half go to college and about half find a job immediately after graduating. We in the agricultural department really want to make sure our kids are ready for college and careers.

Perry said they hope to be able to implement a similar dual registration program in welding. She’s confident improvements to the Department of Agriculture’s workshop — her team spent the summer months building new cabinets, improving ventilation and adding welders donated by Siemens — will help them prepare students to a promising future.

“FFA is the largest student-run organization in the world,” Perry said. “A lot of people think of FFA and they think of cows and plows and that’s not what FFA is, at least not that simply. It’s student leadership, and we do that through the management of project, public speaking We want our children to be ready to join – in a competitive way – the real world.

Jennifer Nobles is a writer for The Union. She can be contacted at [email protected] or 530-477-4231.