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January 11, 2013

Blinn announces marketing push for more ag students

College hosts more than 125 high school ag instructors for FFA convention

Blinn College told more than 125 high school agriculture instructors and Future Farmers of America (FFA) advisors today that the College would like to see its agricultural sciences program grow even more in the coming years.

The instructors were on Blinn’s Brenham campus for the FFA’s Area III Midwinter Conference, which included professional development workshops updating instructors on the latest instruction techniques and trends in a variety of topics, including livestock management, floral design, agribusiness, educational technology, horticulture and agricultural mechanics.

Instructors came from 20 counties across the region to participate.

While the instructors were on campus, Blinn took the opportunity to showcase its agricultural science program. With more than 800 students taking agricultural classes each semester, Blinn is home to the largest ag program of any two-year college in the state. While the College teaches agricultural courses on its Brenham, Bryan, Schulenburg and Sealy campuses, the division is based in the 20,200 square-foot W.J. “Bill” Rankin Agricultural Complex in Brenham. The complex, which opened in 2011, houses classrooms, laboratories, offices, an ag shop, a fully-automated greenhouse, a field-testing plot and a livestock show arena.

“Blinn has an outstanding program with outstanding instructors and facilities,” said Allen Kaminski, the FFA’s Area III coordinator and a career and technology director at Sealy ISD. “It’s a great opportunity for our students to continue their education close to home, and Blinn has a great partnership with Texas A&M and Sam Houston State to send students there when they’re done at Blinn.”

Dr. Dennis Crowson, Blinn’s vice president for student services, told instructors that College administrators would like to someday see the program’s enrollment climb to 1,000 students, and that recruiting more ag students is an important part of Blinn’s marketing plan. Blinn is planning visits to high school ag programs throughout the state as part of its recruiting effort.

“Right now most of the ag students are in one of our on-campus apartment complexes, and that building has the highest GPA of any housing on campus,” he said. “We want ag students on our campuses because we know they are high-quality kids with great work ethics.”

In addition to its agricultural curriculum, students in Blinn’s Ag Club participated in 124 events last year, assisting with 4-H and FFA, livestock and agricultural mechanics shows, Texas Parks & Wildlife workshops, Texas AgriLife Extension Service workshops and Coastal Conservation Association events. In all, 557 Blinn ag students volunteered 6,199 hours of service.

Blinn’s livestock judging team placed first at last year’s Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and has won national competitions in six of the last nine years.

For more information on Blinn’s agricultural sciences program, visit: www.blinn.edu/agriculture/index.htm.