EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – It’s almost Fall which means Borderland farmers are hard at work. However, Coronado High School Students are the new generation learning the ways to follow in their footsteps.
Planting seeds, plowing fields and tending to animals isn’t in every high schoolers class schedule. But the Coronado program is training student to be the future farmers of America.
“Its such a great opportunity. I love using all of this agriculture stuff, solving the real-world problems, being hands-on with everything,” said Justin Yates a junior at Coronado High School.
Future Farmers of America, or better known as FFA, is a program teaching high school students about the agriculture industry. Coronado is the only school in the El Paso Independent School District that has a program. The school uses a 36-acre alfalfa field and farm to teach students valuable skills.
“How to drive tractors, how to work with cattle, how to weld,” said Ramon Garcia a senior at Coronado High School.
They use modern technology like GPS equipped tractors, sparking an interest in agriculture-related careers for many students.
“I would like to go to college for agriculture engineering and then use today’s technology to better the farming life and make things easier,” said Yates.
The farm continues to expand with plans for an artificial insemination program and opportunity’s to farm even more crops.
“By the end of fall, we should have our school well installed for this farm. It enhances our production capabilities to be able to be almost year-round,” said Armando Flores, the agriculture teacher at Coronado High School.
Now more than ever it’s important to expose youth to agriculture as the average age of farmers gets older. According to the USDA, 31 percent of farm operators in America are age 65 or older.
Students can choose from three different areas to focus on including plant science, animal science and agriculture mechanics.
Flores says he believes FFA programs have become less popular due to the cost of operation. However, he says thankfully EPISD has shown a commitment to keeping the Coronado farm operating.