To the editor:

Bridgewater Grange No. 153 supports the Ag-STEM program for Region 12 High School.

Agriculture is a growing field. Open any periodical and you will see dozens of articles on farmers markets, locally grown food, environmental issues and sustainable living. Agriculture does not just include tilling the soil and raising animals, it also includes environmental issues and natural resources; computer programming and technology; dieticians, nutritionists and food scientists; really everything “under the sun.” Agriculture is especially rich with experiences of “learning by doing,” a proven educational model that promotes retention of knowledge.

In the field of agriculture the jobs available currently far outnumber the supply of qualified applicants. In a recent report from the USDA, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack says, “There is incredible opportunity for highly-skilled jobs in agriculture. Those receiving degrees in agricultural fields can expect to have ample career opportunities… those who study agriculture (are) likely to get well-paying jobs upon graduation...”

“There is no other arena of economic activity or field of science … that so directly addresses human survival and quality of life, global economic development, and prospects for an environmentally sustainable future as agriculture and agioscience.” - Battelle Memorial Institute.

We owe it to our students to give them the best preparation for the 21st century and I believe that an Ag-STEM program at Shepaug High School will give them this edge.

Bridgewater Grange No. 153 is sponsoring a question and answer session with Region 12 Superintendent Pat Cosentino on Oct. 1 at St. Mark’s Church in Bridgewater. Come to this meeting at 7 p.m. to learn more about the Ag-STEM program.

Laura Miller