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Agriculture students in Missouri high schools and junior colleges are learning from a new curriculum this school year. Funded by FCS Financial through a grant to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), the Ag Management, Economics & Sales curriculum is the first curriculum developed as a partnership between the public and private sectors.

“A needs survey conducted three years ago identified a new curriculum was at the top of the list for Missouri’s ag teachers,” says Scott Gardner, FCS Financial vice president of sales and marketing.  “The curriculum they were using was developed in 1988.”

In response, FCS Financial and DESE joined forces with Vivayic, a learning solutions company, to develop the Ag Management, Economics & Sales curriculum which was unveiled in July during the Missouri Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association (MVATA) conference.

“This curriculum is just what Missouri Ag Teachers needed as we continue to prepare students for future endeavors in the agriculture industry,” says Ross Hastert, instructor at Rockport High School. “Thanks to FCS Financial and Vivayic, we have an up to date and detailed curriculum that is easy to follow and implement into the classroom.  I am excited to introduce this curriculum to the Juniors and Seniors at Rock Port High School this fall.”

The comprehensive goal was to bring together concepts from agricultural economics, management, sales and marketing and personal finance. The nature of today’s agricultural industry is reflected to prepare students for career success.

“The activities within each lesson allowed for hands on experience and complete understanding,” says Chase Holcumbrink, instructor at Savannah High School, who taught the course during its pilot phase last year.  “This curriculum allows students to make real world connections and learn valuable, lifelong lessons.”

MVATA developed the curriculum through a committee of 17 people representing school districts, post-secondary institutions, agriculture companies and agriculture economics experts. This committee provided subject matter knowledge during the three year development phase. FCS Financial Credit Analyst David Webb participated on the committee to build the finance and credit sections.

“The lessons provided in the new curriculum not only are up-to-date in terms of the agricultural environment, but also many of the activities for students are practical for today's students, such as the use of technology to apply the concepts from the lesson,” says Kelin Cruse, instructor at Cassville High School.

The curriculum is web-based and available for free on the Missouri FFA Association website to provide the extra benefits of building in real-world links and projects as well as easy, around the clock access.

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