Westside schools expand agricultural program

Westside schools expand agricultural program

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Northeast Arkansas is known for its agricultural based communities.

A Region 8 high school plans to expand their agricultural programs to help better prepare students for the next step.

Westside Schools already has a strong agri program, but with the help of a grant they get to expand.

The school has applied for a $25,000 grant, and it has agreed to help with costs, as well.

The money will be used to build a barn to house live stock and build off the already successful program.

Westside also hired an additional instructor allowing for more students to get involved in activities and coursework

Josh Parks has lead the agri and FFA program at Westside for 5 years and said the more they are able to offer the better prepared students are for the future.

"Kids may have never had the interest, but once they get into it, they see it is something that is prevalent and is realistic as a job situation in our community, they're all for it," Parks said. "So we have a lot of support from the area because of that."

He said they will have new classes, expanding their program to 4 main divisions including structural technology, ag marketing and business, plant sciences, and animal sciences.

The new barn will allow for any student to be able to show live stock at competitions.

Parks said some years they have to turn students away who want to take certain courses because they are full, but with this expansion, he's excited to welcome any students that are interested.

They hope to have everything finalized by August.

Parks said if all goes to plan, the barn will be built and classes will begin by fall of 2016.

Copyright 2015 KAIT. All rights reserved.