Determining the needs of an agriculture leadership class in high school agriculture programs

Agriculture education programs do an excellent job of teaching youth leadership skills and knowledge though the three ring model of SAE, FFA and classroom instruction. Although these programs provide students with opportunities to succeed, there is a need for leadership courses to be taught in all high schools to provide them with more knowledge and skills that will prepare them for college and their future careers. Not only will this benefit the students, but it will also provide leadership in the work place, which has been at a steady decline. This project focuses on the needs of developing an agriculture leadership class at Lodi High. This course is needed because a leadership course option is noticeably absent from the program. Although the agriculture program at Lodi High School is very successful, a leadership course would provide students with a curriculum that will challenge them to develop and strengthen their leadership skills. Additionally, it will provide students with an elective course option to choose for their junior or senior year of high school. This would help to decrease the number of students repeating courses or not continuing their enrollment. This project used a qualitative study to determine the needs of the current agriculture students (n = 98) at Lodi High School. The study found a strong need for adding the course to the agriculture program exists and over 70% of the students would enroll in the class. Adding an agriculture leadership class at Lodi High is needed and noticeably absent from the agriculture program and leadership development component.