MaryAnn Boro brings her love of agriculture to students at Buffalo, Mo.

Buffalo High School in Buffalo, Mo., is host to a comprehensive agriculture program; an integral part of the FFA and is led by MaryAnn Boro, a competent young woman who has not ventured far from her roots.

MaryAnn grew up about 15 miles north of Buffalo and was a 2009 graduate of Skyline High School, just outside the small town of Urbana, Mo. She grew up on a small sustainable hobby farm, where her parents raised chickens for meat and eggs, cattle for beef and had a large garden for their own use.

Dedicated teachers and a strong ag department at Skyline instilled in her a desire to continue with agriculture after graduation. Her older brother Sam was also very involved in FFA and went on to become an agriculture educator and now teaches in Aurora, Mo.

Following in his footsteps, MaryAnn pursued a bachelor’s degree in agricultural education at Missouri State University in Springfield, Mo.

MaryAnn started teaching at Buffalo three years ago and has quickly become fully immersed in the agriculture program.

She manages the greenhouse, the school farm and teaches ag acience I, which is primarily for incoming freshmen, and touches on all aspects of agricultural and animal science. In ag science II, students discover various career paths – from mechanics, which includes gaining skills in areas of electricity, woodworking, plumbing, concrete, welding and small engines, to horticulture, with crop science, entomology, soils and a foundation of how things are grown to nursery/greenhouse. The greenhouse includes planting and selling plants, identification of plants, plant pests and diseases to conservation. It also covers grasslands, forestry, hunting and fishing and leadership, which teaches students about communication, business, planning and preparing for activities, job interviewing and creating resumes and is the center for the FFA officer team.

“In agriculture, the kids learn hands-on life skills that they might not get elsewhere and could aid them in future endeavors,” MaryAnn said.

The greenhouse class raised chrysanthemums in the fall and tomatoes, peppers, potted flowers, and hanging baskets in the spring to sell to the public. All proceeds go back into the department to help with costs. The students not only learned about raising plants, but also advertising, cash handling and the business side of selling products.

MaryAnn is excited about bringing the school farm back to life.

It was started back in the 1990s but has languished in recent years. Not quite 5 acres in size, the farm includes a barn, tractor and livestock trailer.

When MaryAnn took charge, her first task was to get the perimeter fenced so that animals could be there safely. By the end of summer she hopes to have all the water tanks functioning and interior fencing to subdivide the pasture so they are able to add more animals.

In the future they hope to add chickens, sheep, goats or whatever else may spark the students’ interest. The hog shelters, hay bale rings, corral panels and other items for the farm are built in the mechanics class by students learning construction and welding. This integrated approach to agriculture gives students the opportunity to plan, design, create and see their handiwork actually used in the continued care of animals.

“I enjoy the variety of things I get to do in this job,” MaryAnn said. “I can teach students about different aspects of agriculture in the shop, greenhouse, classroom or the farm.”

The school farm has a registered Beefmaster cow donated by Cedar Springs Farm and her bull calf.

The department is looking forward to another calf in September.

They also had six market hogs cared for by students that were auctioned off at the recent Dallas County Fair.

“I ask for student input and seek out advice from FFA Alumni in decisions we make on the farm,” MaryAnn said.

This summer, MaryAnn is taking five students to Washington D.C. for the week-long Washington Leadership Conference (WLC), where they will represent the Buffalo FFA Chapter. Students come from all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

MaryAnn, her husband Caleb (a graduate of Buffalo High School and technology director at Fair Play High School), and their three children, Blake (5), Colton (3) and Gideon (2), are all very involved with agriculture.

The two older boys showed hogs at the Dallas County Fair.

The whole family comes to the barn after church on Sundays to check on feed and water for the animals.

At home, they have a pet goat and several chickens for both meat and eggs.

“I want to make sure our children grow up with the same farming opportunities and learn responsibility by caring for animals the way I did,” MaryAnn added.


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