SRHS Agriculture & FFA Programs Amidst COVID-19

The Animal Team! The students of SRHS AG classes celebrate their work at the 2019 Sonoma County Fair. While they were unable to attend the event in-person for the 2020 showing, it remains a high-energy event that they hope will return in 2021. A message on the program’s social media says, “we would like to thank the Sonoma County Fair for holding a virtual auction today and more importantly we would like to thank our community, alumni, and supporters who purchased livestock from our students.” 
Photo By: Lisa Piehl 

Article By: Piper Kirk

Like so many other programs this year, Santa Rosa High School’s Agriculture (AG) programs are having to make heavy adjustments to their school year in response to a lack of in-person learning due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Normally, the program draws in students who are interested in agriculture and a more hands on approach to their science classes. In addition to their typical science classes like Biology, Soil Chemistry and Earth Science, the program offers classes in food science, veterinary practices and floriculture. All of these programs emphasize a hands-on experience, something that is difficult to execute when teachers and students are separated by a screen. 

Another large part of AG and FFA is their conferences and competitions, held on a local, state and national level throughout the year. With large gatherings banned, the program made the decision to go through with most of their usual events, only virtually. This includes conferences, national conventions and public speaking competitions. 

Locally, the chapter frequently holds events like ice cream socials, movie nights and barbeques. This year, they’re working on hosting variations of these events in a virtual capacity. Currently, officers are planning  a possible virtual bingo night, as well as a zero contact drive-through fundraiser. 

Later in the year comes another important part of the AG and FFA programs: raising livestock. In the last half of the 2019-2020 school year, the program, like most, was interrupted by the abrupt end of in-person schooling and the start of quarantine. They held a version of the traditional fair online with a virtual auction on August 1. So far, the board for the Sonoma County Fair is still planning on holding the 2021 fair, where the showing and selling of the animals takes place.

Sofía Navarro, FFA president for the 2020-2021 school year, is optimistic about the upcoming year and the teachers’ response to the difficulties they’re facing. “I think they’re holding it pretty well,” she says. “It is, of course, much harder not being able to see [the teacher’s] students and do the normal activities we would be doing inside the classroom together, but Santa Rosa FFA is ready to rise to the challenge and make the best of it.” 

More information on Santa Rosa High School’s AG programs can be found on their Instagram, @santarosa_ffa, along with future events.

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