Midwest briefs

Wisconsin State Farmer
Midwest briefs


Elkhart schools looking to expand new agriscience program

Big plans are in the works for the newly developed agriscience department in the Elkhart Community Schools.

With Elkhart County standing as the second-largest agricultural county in Indiana, Elkhart schools staff members have embraced the need for agricultural education.

"It's an aspect of our area that we have really overlooked," said Ag Coordinator Cyndy Keeling.

The agriscience program was adopted last year and teachers were trained. Nineteen science teachers in the middle schools were trained in the new agriscience practices and there are currently eight classes between the three middle schools - Pierre Moran, North Side and West Side.

"The corporation itself is really committed to it," said Mark Schroeder, West Side science department chair and agriscience teacher. "When we started, (students) didn't know where their food came from. Their food came from Martin's, it came from Kroger, it came from Walmart."

This year, only eighth graders are taking agriscience class, but signs of a district-wide push toward agricultural-based learning are beginning to emerge.

In the middle schools, plans to expand the already large agriscience program include the introduction of Future Farmers of America in the spring, as well as the creation of a community garden on the West Side campus where students can earn class credit.

The agriscience curriculum also has an entire section on communication skills, designed to teach students who will eventually go into the FFA program. "It goes cross curriculum quite a bit," Schroeder explained.

At the high school, agriscience will be implemented in the fall and follow current eighth graders through their high school years. There will also be an FFA group at the high school beginning in the fall.


Amazon plans to build a second wind farm in Ohio

Amazon is planning to build a second wind farm in Ohio to help power three new data centers in the state.

The e-commerce retail giant says it will develop the wind farm in Hardin County and that it should be making electricity by the end of next year.

Amazon already is building a wind farm in Paulding County.

Hardin County officials in northwest Ohio say the newly announced project will be around $300 million.

Amazon's three data centers near Columbus will provide cloud storage, database and analytic services.

Its goal is to power its cloud services entirely with renewable energy.

West Layfayette, IN

McKinney among Purdue Extension award winners

Ted McKinney, director of the Indiana Department of Agriculture, and three Purdue Extension professionals were honored for outstanding service to the state as part of Extension’s annual Professional Development Conference.

McKinney received the Director’s Award in recognition of his support for Extension’s statewide outreach efforts.

Other award recipients were:Paul B. Crooks Award: Paul Marcellino, county Extension director and educator, Howard County. This award honors an outstanding Extension educator. Outstanding Extension Faculty/Specialist Award: Kiersten Wise and Paul Ebner. Wise, associate professor in Botany and Plant Pathology, specializes in plant disease management and Ebner, associate professor in animal sciences, conducts research on microbiology in livestock and food production. He is a leading expert on confined feeding operations (CFOs) and their impact on surrounding communities.