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New Ag program to start

By Wendy Sweeter,


Clayton Sorum. Photo: Wendy Sweeter

With school underway, Tea Area’s new ag teacher, Clayton Sorum, is ready to meet his students and begin the program.

Sorum, who graduated from South Dakota State University with a degree in ag education in December, grew up in the Canton FFA. Now he’s ready to establish a new ag and FFA program at Tea Area.

He grew up in an ag heavy community. He realizes that ag surrounds the Tea Area district, but it is inching closer to Sioux Falls.

“You always get the questions as an ag teacher why do you teach this, why are students having to learn this,” he said.

Sorum acknowledges that not everyone who goes through an ag class or FFA becomes a farmer. However, everyone will be a consumer.

“The one thing all these kids will be though is consumers. How do they make educated choices when they go to Dollar Fresh here in town or Fareway,” Sorum said.

Sorum has three sections of intro to ag for freshmen and sophomores. Juniors and seniors have the option to take plant science, horticulture and animal science. In plant science, students will focus around crops and machinery. In horticulture, they will use the new greenhouse and learn about landscaping. In animal science, they will cover a broad range from companion animals to feedlot market animals to meat science.

As part of the plant science class, he received a National FFA grant to purchase a tractor to restore.

Located in the CTE building, Sorum’s classroom will have the future greenhouse right outside his door. He and welding teacher Todd Gannon will split the wash bay.

As part of an ag program, they will also introduce FFA into the classroom. Since they will do affiliation, every student in ag class will be in FFA this first year.

“Students get to pick what their involvement looks like. I think that’s the really exciting part about FFA if we have students that really find their knack into it and this is a place for them, FFA has that for them,” Sorum said.

While they do not have any of the signature FFA blue corduroy jackets yet, they will soon. Students will get to participate in fall leadership contests like public speaking, parliamentary procedure and creed speaking at various contests.

He is excited to get the program going and to see what students can do.

“They want this and I think the community, the more people I talk to I think they really want this to happen,” Sorum said.


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