Written by Miriah Pace
Message from the NACTA President - Tracy Dougher
Probably like you, we’re in the midst of our third round of summer orientation on our campus and recognizing the fruits of our recruiting efforts. As I lead our agricultural future on tours and describe the benefits of our program, NACTA is at the forefront of my mind as the support that ushered us here.
When the USDA report Employment Opportunities for College Graduates in Food, Agriculture, Renewable Natural Resources, and the Environment, United States, 2015–2020 came out last May, it was not a long leap to realize that Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture are crucial to the future needs of our nation and world. Piling on shrinking agricultural communities and decreasing numbers of youth educated among its traditions, adds to our challenges. Our job as educators is now realized to a broader audience that not only needs to be exposed to the fundamentals and value of agriculture, but also to consider a career in agriculture. NACTA has always been key in helping the agricultural community advance education in the classroom. Now NACTA is a key support in our efforts to make our programs more versatile and accessible, opening doors for a background-diverse audience.
As our membership numbers hold steady, the impact and support from our NACTA membership has grown significantly and bears witness to the many ways NACTA is opening doors. An increase in quality and quantity of publications in the respected NACTA Journal indicates a commitment to providing an information-rich environment. Efforts from our past presidents, addressing the need for membership support for two-year programs, have strengthened ties to the NACTA Judging Conference. The formation, this year, of the Experiential Learning Committee, speaks volumes to the continuation of this effort. Already within its first year, the CHS Foundation grant to NACTA is expanding accessibility to our association, our publications, and our annual conference.
NACTA continues to grow. Your continued promotion of NACTA award nominations deservedly rewards more of our outstanding teachers and recognizes their ongoing work and dedication. Most telling to me is that attendance, along with the number of poster and oral presentations, at the annual conference continues to rise. The additional presentations provide a wider opportunity for sharing of teaching innovations, not to the mention the networking and discovery that takes place when we come together.
The NACTA family has inspired, rejuvenated, and supported me every year since my first meeting in 2005. I am proud of our efforts to open doors that educate and support our Ag future. I encourage us to keep those doors wide open to expand our Ag and NACTA family to meet the needs of the future. I am excited and honored to be able to give back to my NACTA family and serve as President in the upcoming year. I look forward to hearing from you throughout the year and at our family reunion at Purdue University, where we will gather to “INnovate IN teaching IN the heartland.”
Montana State University
NACTA President 2016-2017