Mauston Agriculture Department Improves

The Mauston School District will be getting exciting new additions this year to their Agriculture and Tech Ed Departments. This fall, they will be opening their new aquaponics area, greenhouse, meat technology area, manufacturing center and welding area.

Beth Babcock, the Mauston School District agriculture teacher and FFA advisor, shares more on these new improvements and the impact it will have on the students and community.

The new aquaponics system allows Babcock to work with her class to focus on farm to school items. The two growing towers will allow students to grow lettuce and tomatoes to then use in the school lunch program. 

“We also received two grants this year for our greenhouse, ” says Babcock. “Thanks to these grants we are able to put in raised beds and allow students the opportunity to learn how to grow their own food and supply fresh vegetables for the school.”

Each year the Mauston FFA uses the greenhouse to host a plant sale for the community. This new greenhouse allows them to have more varieties and better serve the community. 

Babcocks adds, “one of the most unique programs we have in Mauston is our meat technology class.”

Students in this class process the meat from butchering to wrapping and labeling. Students are able to trace back the meat they enjoy to the animal and truly learn the full farm to table process. This new area also includes a walk-in cooler and freezer to insure the best safety practices are being followed. 

Mauston has a very large manufacturing and welding industry. Babcock and the other tech ed teachers work to improve their classes in order to hit those areas. This is not only helpful for the students but the community by helping to prepare a potential new workforce.

Another addition opening is the manufacturing and welding areas. Mauston has a fabrication program where students learn to use laser engravers, CNC routers or vinyl printers. Once students become seniors, they are able to join Golden Eagle Enterprises which is a student led business through the tech ed department. This business receives orders from the community and provides students with many employment skills.

These new additions will also be utilized by the middle school classes Babcock teaches. She plans to have them help run the aquaponics system and spark their interest in taking agriculture classes once they get to high school.

As the FFA advisor, Babcock also hopes to allow members to utilize the areas for their Supervised Agriculture Experience and agri-science fair projects.