By Martha Jacob
About 25 years ago, the Ripley-Union-Lewis-Huntington Local School District’s Agriscience Program and the FFA (Future Farmers of America) chapter had its beginning. It was August of 1993 and since that time the program has continued to grow in strength and numbers.
In recognition of its ‘Silver Anniversary, a special celebration has been planned for Tuesday, August 14 at the RULH High School cafetorium.
According to Brad Moffitt, trustee on the Ohio FFA Foundation and director of marketing Development and membership of the Ohio Corn and Wheat, the FFA’s Silver Anniversary is an important celebration for Ripley.
“I arrived in Ripley in June 1993 after teaching AG for 10 years at Ridgedale,” Moffitt said. “The village of Ripley had a huge Ag economy that wanted a high school agriculture program.
“At the time the new high school was proposed and a new ag program would be an important part.”
Moffitt said he was fortunate in being part of recruiting the first set of Ag students and FFA members.
On Tuesday, August 14, from 4 to 7 p.m. the event will include photos and other information from the past 25 years of FFA History on display. Guest speakers will include:
• Doug Bannsen, retired, now engages his passion for food, cooking, motorcycles and travel
• Gigi Neal, now Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, Clermont County OSU Extension
• Shelby Schelling, current Ag Teacher and FFA advisor
• Harvey Stanfield, now Agriculture teacher/FFA Advisor at Mason County, KY.
In the past 25 years in Ripley, over 1,000 students have been served by 5 Ag teachers.
“Ag programs and FFA are growing nationwide,” Moffitt said, “And Ripley High School is keeping up. Agriculture careers require huge numbers of future employees and the technology sector in agriculture is growing exponentially.
“It’s an exciting time to be in Ag and with our on-farm population’s average age at or around 60, we also need young people to return to farms and hopefully keep family farm operations in the family. Careers encompass local, state, national and even international opportunities.
All former Ag student/FFA members from the past 25 years are invited and encouraged to attend. Please join in the celebration.