Teaching Agriculture

April 21, 2021

Jenna Baker is a first year ag teacher at Tri-Point High School in Cullom, Illinois.

Jenna attributes her Leland farm background and ag classes taken at Somonauk High School for her ag teaching career path. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Leadership & Science Education from the University of Illinois and began teaching ag classes last August.

“My favorite part of teaching agriculture is being able to build relationships with students and teach a variety of hands-on, applicable topics,” said Jenna. “No two days are the same, and being able to expose students to the agricultural industry while helping them find their passions and strengths is the most rewarding part of the job.”

“I always tell my students that there is something for everyone in agriculture,” Jenna noted, “no matter what your interests are.”

Jenna is one of two ag teachers at Tri-Point High School located in Cullom, Illinois, in Livingston County. During her first year of teaching she taught Introduction to Agriculture, Horticulture, Farm to Fork (ag production & foods), Advanced Food Science, and Environmental Science. At Tri-Point, they also offer classes in agricultural science, mechanics, and business.

The high school has over 30 FFA members and 60 students in ag classes, which is about half of the high school student body.

Both ag classes and FFA looked different this past year; the majority of their FFA events and contests were virtual.

Jenna admits that “teacher” was never on her list of possible careers. It wasn’t until her senior year in high school that she decided to pursue a career as an ag teacher.

(From left) Tri-Point has two ag teachers and FFA advisors, including Jenna Baker. Diana Loschen is retiring at the end of this school year and will be replaced by Kylie Miller, who was a student teacher.

“My two ag teachers, Toni Gabriel and Sarah Landers, had a significant impact on me in high school. Now that I have almost a year under my belt, I know that I made the right career choice,” said Jenna.

Looking back at the past, the DeKalb County native received Farm Bureau scholarships to assist with her college education expenses. “The opportunity to receive DeKalb County Farm Bureau scholarships provided necessary financial support for my college education. As a scholarship recipient, I am also very grateful that organizations like Farm Bureau are so willing to support local students in furthering their education,” she said.

The 22-year-old is the daughter of DeKalb County Farm Bureau members Rodney and Cindy Baker.

In the future Jenna hopes to grow Tri-Point’s ag program and FFA chapter, continue her professional development as a teacher and obtain a master’s degree in agricultural education in the coming years.

“The opportunity to receive DeKalb County Farm Bureau scholarships provided necessary financial support for my college education.”