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Editorial: Farm classes have a place in Farmington

There’s no denying Farmington’s agricultural heritage. It’s right there in the name. The city grew up in part around rich farming soil, and while much of that farmland disappeared beneath housing developments during the building boom that hit the area several years ago — planted with basements, you might say — the signs are still there.

They’re there in the grain elevator that is one of the most recognizable structures downtown. They’re there in the farm fields that still make up much of the undeveloped landscape in the area, or in the fact Farmington High School students taking a tractor to prom is not an altogether unusual experience.

The city’s farm heritage is also there in the agriculture program that is still going strong after 75 years at Farmington High School. The program is a rarity among schools so close to the Twin Cities, and it obviously has a following. In the first trimester of this year there are 130 students enrolled in the various classes offered by agriculture teacher Ken Schentzel.

Farming was obviously an important part of Farmington life when the program began in 1938. It is perhaps less so now, but the lessons, while changed to keep up with the times, are still applicable.

There is value in knowing the basics of growing food. In knowing how to provide for yourself and others. How to fix machinery. How to care for animals.

They are skills rooted in the past, and fewer Farmington residents today use them to make their living. But there is something satisfying about knowing they are still being taught.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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