It’s Not Just Cows and Plows

While growing up on five acres in Clarkston, Wash., Cami Browne was active in agriculture throughout her school years, but was not sold on pursuing it as a career.

The 2002 Washington State University grad and current Clarkston High School teacher intended on becoming an architect after graduating high school. However, like most young adults, Browne changed her mind and decided to pursue a teaching degree in her favorite subject—agriculture.

“I enjoy agriculture because it is important everywhere you go and it constantly changes,” Browne said. “Everyday, there is something new to learn and teaching it allows me to pass that on to my students.”

Browne chose WSU after hearing good things about the agriculture education program and the close proximity of Pullman to her hometown.

While at WSU, Browne faced challenges in courses like economics, but enjoyed several crop and soil science classes because the professors she had “cared about the students and made sure we not only succeeded but were well prepared for life after college.”

Browne recently began her sixth year at Clarkston, where she teaches five classes and serves as the FFA advisor. With 60 members, her role as advisor requires her to spend long hours preparing students for competitive events.

“In just a few weeks, our horse evaluation team will compete at the National Convention,” Browne said. “All five girls on the team have been spending each day practicing with me before and after school.”
Browne’s students—most of whom do not come from an agricultural background—are becoming more interested in pursuing careers in ag, especially within the medical field.

“My goal is to give kids the skills they need to be successful outside of high school and expose them to the different career possibilities in agriculture.”

To teach those skills, Browne implements hands-on activities that relate to local industries as much as possible.

“I require my Ag Business students to produce a marketing plan on a local company and each year my greenhouse students grow plants and sell them at the fair,” Browne said.

One of Browne’s goals as a teacher is to expose her students to all aspects of the ag industry. “Unless you are from a rural background, most people think that agriculture is just cows and plows, but so much more goes into it. After taking my class, hopefully students realize that agriculture is competitive and requires science, business and leadership skills.”