The 2019 World Ag Expo was held recently in Tulare where people came from all over the world to see exhibits, network and learn about the latest in ag equipment, services and technology. A few students from Riverbank High School along with their new Agriculture Instructor, Landon Sudberry, got to experience the Expo as well.
“Students were able to test and observe all of the newest equipment and technology in agriculture, as well as network with Agriculture industries, leading business, colleges, and trade schools,” Sudberry said.
With only a few months on the job and starting mid-year at RHS as the new Ag Instructor, Sudberry realizes that it is going to be a bit difficult to get the students where they need to be and to have a complete FFA Officers Team. Currently they have a President and a Vice President on the officer team but Sudberry is optimistic that eventually they will have a full team.
He will be taking the two officers to the state convention in April. The officers will get to vote for next year’s state officers as well as learn the new policies regarding FFA.
“I think we are building job skills,” added Sudberry. “It is part of career technical education so we are preparing kids to be career ready and college ready after high school. They are getting the classroom and hands on portion of it. I think that is the biggest part for me, that they are learning the hands on and they can go out and obtain a job after they graduate high school. Another thing too it builds relationships. There are all kinds of opportunities through conferences to get out of your comfort zone and meet people from other areas and learn leadership skills. We do a lot of stuff with leadership and public speaking and build some of those other skills that will help later in life.”
Any student that takes an agriculture class is automatically a member of the FFA. According to Sudberry there are about 120 students in the ag program. So each student is a member of the FFA. He requires that his students attend three events per quarter which can include participating in a fundraiser and other opportunities.
“So the agriculture sector, agriculture education has a three ring model that we call the FFA classroom, the SAE Supervised Agriculture Experience – so classroom is all the stuff we do in here,” added Sudberry. “The other two rings do become part of their grade so they have to be active participants so they will either help out with a fundraiser or come to a club meeting; any of that kind of that stuff is 10 percent of their grade.”
Sudberry is from the central coast where he grew up around agriculture. His father is a lettuce grower which tapped his interest in agriculture. He got into welding and mechanics in high school and competed on the FFA team.
He worked as a welder for a few years and did fabrication jobs. Then he realized that he wanted to pursue the ag industry further and got a degree in Agriculture Science at Cal Poly. While at Cal Poly he found that he had a love for teaching and a passion for welding and mechanics.
After completing his student teaching at Hilmar High School, which was the final step to receiving his teaching credential, Sudberry decided to stay in the area and find a teaching job even though it would be mid-year. RHS was hiring for an Ag Teacher so he applied and got the job for the remainder of the year.
“It (RHS) is good,” expressed Sudberry. “I really enjoy the job. I love welding and mechanics so getting to share that with high school students is a great experience. My administration here is very supportive. There is a lot of effort going into making sure that we have the funding and resources that we need to keep this program going. I enjoy the other staff, they are great, and they all have been very welcoming. The students are fun. They are eager to get in the shop. So it is a good time. They are super excited to get to do the hands on stuff. So it is fun.”