New Mentor Brings a Fresh Set of Eyes and Additional Skills to the Durham Ag Department

Paige Alexander

DURHAM-Lyman Hagen worked in another high school’s agriculture department for many years, while there he developed the skills he now uses to help our growing FFA program. Hagen was approached by our ag boosters when yet another new young teacher had been hired since he had a lot of knowledge that could help our newly restarted program. Hagen has a passion for agriculture that he recalls always being a large part of his life.

“I have always loved plants, animals, and tractors and I always will.” Lyman Hagen said.

Hagen has been lending the most knowledge to the ag mechanics class where he has been teaching students to drive a tractor. He is also very excited to work with different leadership groups and help them grow. In the near future, he hopes to work with our ag teacher, Ms. Hall, to help students explore the different opportunities for CDE’s (Career Development Events), and become a more competitive chapter.

“If I see a student that appears to have a talent in an area relevant to one of our many CDE’s I will try my best to encourage them until they say yes to trying it… sometimes I believe they are capable of things they don’t think they are very good at,” Hagen said.

Recently Ms. Hall, our current ag teacher, and Hagen took some FFA students to an opening and closing competition in Gridley. At this contest, Hagen worked with one of the three teams that FFA brought with them to help them run through the parts. Each member’s part must be recited perfectly and the speaker must use voice projection and enunciate each and every word clearly. This is something Hagen hopes to continue helping future teams with. 

“One major change I have noticed since returning to help the new teacher is a large number of new SAE’s and proficiencies available,” said Hagen.

Since teaching at a high school himself a lot has changed in the FFA world. Hagen believes that there is a larger range of opportunities for students, especially in the area of SAE’s (Supervised Agricultural Events), now than there was when he was an advisor himself.  SAE’s are the projects people can take to fair, such as a market animal or breeding project, that allow the member to be involved with a form of agriculture while in the class. Also, Hagen has seen a change in the number of proficiencies available to students in FFA. 

Hagen is excited to keep working with our ag program as he had missed working with FFA members. This type of program is very different from the one he had previously worked with.  Prior to helping mentor Ms. Hall and the ag program in Durham, his last experience with an FFA program had been when he was part of a multi-teacher ag program. Now in this new program, Ms. Hall is the only ag teacher. In the past several years, Durham’s ag program has changed hands many times. This year, we once again gain a new rather young teacher but, contrary to the last couple of teachers, Ms. Hall has the support and guidance of a knowledgeable former ag teacher. Our community hopes this added support will make for a stronger ag program in the future.  

“I was approached by the ag boosters to assist the new teacher (Ms. Hall) and mentor her as the need arises,” Hagen said.

Hagen is excited as this year his first grandchild is old enough to be in FFA at another school, so now he can share his love of FFA with his kin. FFA and agriculture have been a passion of Hagen’s for a long time and he is excited to help others who share the same interests.