Long tours ‘outstanding’ Republic High School Ag Dept.

Congressman Billy Long visited Republic High School on Friday, Nov. 22, to tour the school’s agriculture department.
The tour began with a visit to the soybean field. Long, members of the school board and others rode on a tractor-pulled trolley while students Sedalia Shumaker and Parker White spoke about the soybean and winter-wheat crops they and the other students are raising with the help of a local farmer. From there, the group traveled to the cow pasture where Lawson Tunnell and Natalie Pyeatt spoke about the ag department’s Management Intensive Grazing program.
The next stop on the tour were the pig and cow barns. At the pig barn, Kayla Goddard and Jonathan Woods talked about how three pairs of pigs were being raised on different types of food and monitored to see the effects on their growth; while at the cow barn, Emma Hankins told Long about the students’ plans to use the barn to raise show cows. The group then returned to the ag building, where Kolby Hosp and Ellie Lawson showed Long the greenhouse and the plants the students are raising there.
The next stop on the tour was the woodshop, where Macy Bartlett spoke to Long about how the department was demonstrating good steward- ship of grant money used to purchase the department’s equipment.
“Everything you have seen today,” she said, “between the welders in the shop that you walked through, the pig barn, the cattle pasture and the animal science lab ... have been partially paid for with the federal grant money that we have earned, and we use this equipment and the re- sources we have to give the kids more of a hands- on approach to the things we’re learning in class.”
Landon Fanning further illustrated that point by speaking about the amount of use the department gets out of its skid steer.
“You name it, we’ve done it with the skid steer,” he told Long.

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Jackson Lehr then spoke about the department's tractor and the many ways the department uses it to complement the skid steer, including mowing tall grass, putting up hay, stretching wire on fencing, dirt work and moving the livestock trailer.
“I don’t think we’ve gone a day where we haven’t fired up one or both pieces of equipment,” he said.
The last part of the tour was the Animal Science Lab, where Alicyn Hernandez and Hannah Stallworth spoke about medical procedures the students learned there, including ultra-sounding cows, castrating bulls, ear tagging, vaccinations and artificial insemination.
Throughout the tour, Long spoke with the students and asked questions about the ag department. During the tour of the soybean field, Sedalia Shumaker said they were trying to get more students involved in that part of the department, but needed more equipment.
“What kind of equipment do you need?” Long asked her. Shumaker replied they would need a drill and a planter. Long asked her to make him a list of what is needed and said he would try to get the department those things.
Following the tour, Long described the school’s ag department as “outstanding.”

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“To me, its like a downsized College of the Ozarks; a program where the kids do everything,” he said. “I didn't realize that it was that complex out here and they had that much going on, so I'm thrilled for them.” He added he was “thrilled” that such a program was in his district.
After the students bid farewell to Long, Chance Wistrom, superintendent of schools, told the students they had done an excellent job during their presentation.
“You guys knocked it out of the park,” he said. “I’m super proud of you.”


Lawrence County Record

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