Life in the Classroom
I work as one of three Agriculture Educators at Union County High School in Lake Butler, Florida. I began my tenure in what anyone from Union County would call "God's Country" in January of 2012 after graduating from the University of Florida with a Masters of Science in Animal Science. I teach six, fifty-minute classes per day, five days per week - which cover four different agricultural courses that students in the 9th through the 12th grades can enroll in, including Agriscience Foundations, Animal Science II, Animal Science III and Directed Studies. In addition to teaching, I manage a 20-something acre school farm, complete with a few cows, a bunch of rabbits, a chapter steer, some chapter hogs, chickens, a sugar glider, a box full of meal worms, and whatever else the good citizens of UCo get the notion to donate. We also have a greenhouse that I am teaching myself how to grow (not kill) plants in and a meats lab where my students learn how to process meat cuts. I am also an advisor of the Lake Butler FFA Chapter, where we boast one of the most active and successful FFA chapters in the state of Florida, even though we only have a little over 600 students at UCHS. Top it all off with managing Supervised Agriculture Experience projects for my students and FFA members, and it would be an understatement to say that this job keeps me on my toes!
Life on the Farm
I grew up on just 40-acres between Alachua and Jonesville, Florida. Although small, this little piece of land is where I fell in love with agriculture and the land. My father and his family have been a part of the agricultural industry for generations - so when he enrolled my brother and I in our local 4-H club it's like he knew what he was doing. At the age of eight, I began raising and exhibiting beef cattle and I was hooked! Over the years, I expanded my cattle herd and joined the FFA, and then expanded my cattle herd some more. When I got accepted to the University of Florida after high school, selecting my major(s) was a no-brainer. And because I loved the industry so much (and maybe because I really wasn't sure what I wanted to do at 18) I dual-majored in Animal Science with a Beef Industry specialization and Agricultural Education. After I got married to the good ol' country boy every girl dreams of, I started graduate school and we moved to a little abode on five acres outside of Newberry, Florida. While in graduate school and as newlyweds, my husband and I added broiler production to our farming repertoire since there wasn't a lot of room to do much on the new homestead. Throughout the years, we have held onto the dream of going back to my husband's 200ish-acre family farm, building our dream home, and reviving the farm to grow food and agriculture literacy in our community.