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Douglas High students get hands-on ag experience as FFA program returns after 19 years

Douglas High School FFA students on May 16, 2018. The program is back this year following a 19-year absence. (SBG)

WINSTON, Ore. -- A high school in Douglas County is working to help students get hands-on experience in agriculture.

Students at Douglas High School in Winston aren't just learning about math and English these days; the school has brought back its FFA program after a 19-year absence, and now offers animal science classes.

But students say the FFA program is not just focused on farming.

"You learn a ton of leadership skills with FFA and you learn business skills and salesman skills,” says Douglas High student and FFA member Whitney Evans. “You learn a bunch of different stuff like that."

Agricultural instructor and FFA advisor Rob Holveck is excited the program is teaching students all about the animal industry.

"It’s more of a student leadership organization that uses agriculture as a context to build that work ethic to help build people up so they can be valuable members in our society," he says.

And a new livestock trailer is making things a little bit easier on students and staff.

"I can bring the animals in myself to make it easier on the producers,” says Holveck off the trailer. “It makes it a situation where students have more access and more contact with the animals because they really are the best textbook."

Students in the program say having livestock on campus is key in getting a hands-on experience while still in school.

"The people that can't have animals and stuff at home or live in town can still have that experience at school,” explains Evans, “so they still have that around in their life."

The FFA leaders plan to work with local organizations to help students continue learning about the animal industry.

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