Barn will benefit school's FFA program

From left, Joe Stroup, Midd-West School director of curriculum and instruction; High School Principal Thor Edmiston; Middle School Principal Dane Aucker and parent Dale Feltman look over the livestock barn that is under construction on the district campus.

Construction of a livestock barn on the Midd-West School District campus has begun.

The district is developing an Agricultural Education Center on a 15-acre lot adjacent to the schools in Middleburg with the aid of a $25,000 Monsanto Fund grant.

The idea to build a 30-foot by 42-foot barn for small livestock came from student Elijah Feltman, who has been working on the Eagle Scout project for about two years.

Now a senior, Feltman is finally seeing his concept turn into a reality as a group of students and parents have begun working a few hours on Saturdays with Chad Snyder, of Snyder Construction, to build the structure they hope to have completed next month.

"I wanted to leave a mark," the 17-year-old Kissimmee resident said.

Growing up on a hog nursery, Feltman also has "a passion for agriculture."

The barn will be a place where students can raise, care for sheep, goats and other small animals to show at the Pennsylvania Farm Show, he said.

A chicken coop is also being added at the site, said High School Principal Thor Edmiston. "There are a lot of possibilities," he said.

Midd-West's FFA chapter is the second largest in the state, with about 300 members, Feltman said, but a majority don't have access to working with livestock.

This will give those students and others not in the FFA program an opportunity to have hands-on learning experience, Middle School Principal Dane Aucker said.

"It's going to be a wonderful experience for all our kids to experience farm life," said Joe Stroup, director of curriculum and instruction.

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