Burley educator shakes up her agriculture class

BURLEY — Jaysa Fillmore wants to give teens an accurate look at the modern agriculture industry.

“I’m not afraid to fail or look bad while doing it,” said the Cassia High School agriculture teacher. “Agriculture isn’t what it used to be.”

Her goal is to show students what agricultural careers they can pursue after high school in Cassia County. She’ll accomplish her goal by creating a class called STEM in Agriculture.

“I want to change things up,” she said. “I don’t like to do the same thing year after year.”

Fillmore is educating students about the future of agriculture through exploring the past and present of food and farming.

“I want students to know agriculture has high paying careers and you don’t have to go to a four-year college for them,” she said.

The STEM in agriculture class takes a focus around one question: How will we sustainably feed nine billion people by the year 2050?

Students will try and solve the question through hands-on experiences in and outside the classroom.

“This is learning in action,” she said.

Junior Shade Davis pours water over soil to test the types of nutrients in the dirt. He is learning how to improve a growing crop. Shade is headed to Mountain Agronomics to meet with an agronomist to learn about fertilizer and plant nutrients.

“I’m finding the different topics of agriculture very knowledgable,” Shade said. “Who knows, I might want to find a career in farming.”

Students attend weekly field trips that promote STEM careers in the agricultural industry, including trips to Milner Butte Landfill, Butte Irrigation and Agri-service. While in the classroom, students are learning about food sustainability through a tablet game called Journey2050. The game compliments learning in class through discussion, STEM challenges, field trips and guest speakers.

Students are exploring sustainable agriculture while making inquiry-based decisions through the game.

“This is interactivity at its best,” Shade said.

Fillmore hopes the hands-on activities will give her students the skills and exposure to pursue a career in agriculture.

“All I want to do is show students the opportunities they have right here in Idaho,” she said.

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