Agribusiness teaching farm planned for Tuscaloosa County

New project could bring 'teaching farm' to Tuscaloosa County school system
Published: Jul. 26, 2023 at 7:05 AM CDT
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - The Tuscaloosa County School system wants to grow job opportunities for its students. Some folks believe the way to do that is through what’s described as a “teaching farm.”

Think of it as a workforce development for kids who are interested in agriculture.

Several people are excited about what could take root if this teaching farm idea gets off the ground successfully. Nearly 30 people attended a meeting about the teaching farm concept, a course where students would learn several job skills related to agricultural businesses. It’s not just teaching people how to become farmers.

People who farm or own agricultural companies joined elected leaders and educators during a lunch and learn meeting.

“There’s tech involved. There’s different types of careers. There’s animal science and veterinary medicine. There’s law enforcement, there’s marine patrol. There’s fisheries and that kind of stuff,” explained John Cameron, Tuscaloosa County’s Extension Coordinator. “We’re just trying to raise awareness and develop a channel where there’s a workforce ready to go into that area.”

Cameron says the average age of a farmer in Alabama is 58 years old, so he and others are asking for supports to start the teaching farm this fall.

That could include money, materials, equipment and expertise from folks who have been in agri-business most of their lives. The Tuscaloosa County School system owns property on Finnell Road in the northern part of the county that could be the perfect place to start a teaching farm.

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