Back in May we told about a class at Snake River that had students get up every morning at 8:00 AM to attend school in a farm field. It turns out we were wrong, the students decided that 8:00 AM wasn’t early enough and so they decided to hold class at 7:00 AM instead.
“My favorite part has just being able to come here, have a reason to stay around home and literally see my efforts and everybody’s efforts,” said Snake River Senior Dexton Lake.
The students are growing red potatoes and barley for feed. The group of 27 strong has been getting down and dirty in patch of land less than a mile from the high school. Dexton says the timing of this class could not have been better.
“With the new requirements for science and math, everybody is looking for another way to take another science class,” said Lake. “Farming is a science there’s no doubt about it and so the science credit is the incentive and plus it’s a fun class.”
None of this would be possible if not for the support of the community. This includes Garth VanOrden who made sure the Ag program had crops to raise.
“It’s important that the kids get a chance and an opportunity,” said VanOrden. “One of the challenges now is that a lot of the kids don’t get the opportunity. This is a hands-on, in the field chance for them to help grow, weed, and irrigate crops that are grown here in southeastern Idaho.”
By late August - early September, the field will be harvested and look a lot like it did before they began. For the students in the program, the lessons learned will last for many years to come.
“My family is more into the ranching side than the farming side and we’ve never farmed potatoes,” said Lake. “It’s been a learning experience for me with potatoes.”
“There are lots of job opportunities for these kids to go into that field and farming,” said Leon Anderson, Crop Consultant for Crop Production Services in Rockford. “Of course from there it’s everything from gridding to computers. You name it, it’s there.”
The students will bring the potatoes to the farmers market in Blackfoot after they are harvested. Of course we’ll be there for the conclusion of the story.
Because of demand and the overwhelming success of the program, next year they are planning on expanding the student farm and including more varieties of crops.