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NMSU student chosen as National Teach Ag ambassador

Twelve ambassadors from across the country were recently selected for the National Teach Ag Campaign and among them is a graduate student from New Mexico State University.

Brandon Sours, 23, of Forrest, N.M., is studying agricultural and Extension education at NMSU and also works as a graduate assistant for the department. As a Teach Ag ambassador, Sours will help run a Teach Ag booth at the 2012 National FFA Convention in Indianapolis.

Sours was volunteering as a coordinator in preparation for the state FFA convention at NMSU when he got word that he was selected as a Teach Ag Ambassador.

"Everyone knew I had been waiting for weeks for the announcement, so we took a moment to stop what we were doing and celebrate," Sours said. "I felt very privileged, excited and relieved that the waiting was over."

The National Teach Ag Campaign is an initiative of the National Council for Agricultural Education. It is funded by the CHS Foundation and Landmark Nurseries as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.

Part of the teacher preparation aspect of the project involves development of communication and leadership skills. Sours will get to work on those skills by preparing and presenting agricultural lessons for middle school students while at the Indianapolis convention.

According to the National Council for Agricultural Education, there is a shortage of secondary level agricultural educators and Sours hopes that by teaching agriculture and encouraging others to teach the shortage will be filled.

"One of the coolest aspects of agricultural education is that it can reach a student who might not be successful in a traditional classroom because agriculture teachers educate students by doing, not just telling," Sours said. "It's important to be an agriculture teacher so that this valuable type of instruction continues to exist in our educational system."

While the national FFA convention doesn't take place until October, Sours will have access to materials from the National Teach Ag Campaign that he can use while at NMSU. Sours said he is hopeful for the future of agricultural education and he plans to help others along the way.

"Not everyone arrives at college knowing exactly what they want to do, I certainly didn't, but I found my passion here and I believe there will be more like me who need guidance to find their own path," Sours said.