Two Eastern Washington agriculture teachers have each received $25,000 grants to bolster the educational offerings in their classes.
Local farmers nominated Jessica Moore, of Oakesdale, and Nathan Moore, of Colton, to apply for the Bayer Crop Sciences America's Farmers Grow Rural Education program.
"Receiving these grants is a huge honor for our schools and communities," Nathan Moore said. "These awards truly represent the vital role that communities play in education. We both have the opportunity to teach in small rural schools in Whitman County that fully support their schools and see the value in agricultural education and what it does for students."
The Moores met while pursuing their agricultural education degrees at Washington State University. They will celebrate their 24th wedding anniversary in November. They have two sons: Lane, 22, and Luke, 21.
Oakesdale plans to use the grant to purchase a 30-by-40-foot production greenhouse. Plant science students will learn the process of plant production for a spring plant sale, while agriculture communications students will teach and promote agriculture to Oakesdale Elementary students, Jessica Moore said.
It will also be utilized for agriscience students to conduct experiments, she said.
"The grant will improve on the activities that we have been conducting at a smaller scale," she said.
Colton will purchase a classroom set of laptops, four robotics kits and a 3-D printer, Nathan Moore said.
The grant allows more science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, lessons in all agriculture classes, he said. All advanced computer class lessons will be taught on the new laptops, including a semester devoted to robotics and coding.
The agribusiness class will include designing and creating new products on the 3-D printer, and a large format printer.
The agricultural mechanics class will use the laptops to design and print products on the 3-D printer and some robotics.
Jessica Moore said the biggest need in agricultural education is to provide competent, prepared young people for the agriculture industry.
"The agriculture industry is constantly changing, especially with the incorporation of new varieties of plants, new products and more mechanized equipment," she said. "The industry will need more scientists, educators, machinists, producers and agricultural marketing specialists."
For Nathan Moore, it's keeping up with automation and technology occurring in the agricultural industry.
"I truly believe that we need to introduce the students to as much information as we can while they are in high school to allow them to see future career options that may interest them," he said.