Tractor parade spotlights potential cuts to school agriculture program

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FLEMING COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - For the past 10 years, dozens of tractors line up for the Fleming County tractor parade. But Friday, there was a reason behind all the community support.

"The backbone of Fleming County really is agriculture," says Cody Burke, Fleming County High School FFA Secretary. "We're really blessed. We have so much with family consumer sciences, AG technology, we have all kinds of stuff. We're really diverse so it would be a shame to really cut any of our programs like that."

Rumors have been swirling for weeks about financial troubles in the Fleming County school system. Community members tell WKYT's Whitney Wetzel this could mean several teacher cuts that could affect different programs, including agriculture.

"We've got one teacher that [teaches] animal science, one teacher does horticulture and one teacher is only welding and mechanics and things like that," Burke explains. "So if you cut one teacher, you're really cutting a whole department in our AG program."

More than 50 percent of students at Fleming County High School take at least one agriculture class each year. Many of those students have plans to pursue a degree in agriculture or work on the family farm.

"The past few years agriculture has been one of the hottest commodity industries that you can be in," says Burke. "We've seen record high cattle prices and grain prices. Agriculture's just thriving and people have to eat, so it's going to continue to thrive."

The extent of how these funding cuts will affect school programs are expected to be announced next week.

Several state representatives were also at Friday's parade to support the agriculture program at Fleming County High School.

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