In Town: Jason has been the Vocational Agriculture Instructor at Mt. Vernon High School in Mt. Vernon, Mo., since 1992. As an advisor, Jason has taken ten teams to nationals in FFA and National Rangeland competitions, and has had several students honored at the national and state levels for FFA Proficiency Awards. He has also trained numerous state-ranked contest teams, public speakers and officers.
In the Country: Jason and his wife, Krista, own a small cow-calf operation just north of Mt. Vernon. He has participated in the EQIP program and has installed waterers on their farm to equip it for intensive pasture rotation. He has also participated in forestry exclusion programs and timber stand improvements through the NRCS.
Finding a Balance: “My experience on my own farm adds credibility to the discussions with my students on grazing systems, or any kind of production activity that I might be teaching about. Real-world experience is probably the best part of any agriculture lesson. I take kids out there and use my farm as a lab to identify trees and plants for contest teams and class activities. Even shooting sports – I have a lot of students interested in shooting sports, and we’ve taken them out there in the past. I am also a Missouri Hunter Safety Education Instructor, and have been doing that for about 25 years.”
Farm Goals: “We’ve been following a commercial, industrial production model for the last 10-plus years, and we’re looking to turn to a more diversified operation. We want to have better control over our input costs, and do a better job managing the forage we need to raise beef cattle, or any commodity animal, without too many commercialized inputs.
“We want to diversify too; grow some things we could contribute to the “Grow Local” movement in a small way.”
Story and Photo by OFN Staff