Local Teacher Encourages Individuals to Explore Agricultural Opportunities
Cook County Farm Bureau® Young Leaders Group Chair builds on her experiences in agriculture and horticulture while expanding students’ and individuals’ awareness of the opportunities presented in agriculture.
FFA formerly called “Future Farmers of America” is a dynamic youth organization that develops members leadership, personal growth and career success through hands-on experiences in agriculture. FFA members are future food scientists, veterinarians, small business owners, bankers, teachers, doctors, chemists, government officials, and nurses. They’re leaders in their chosen career fields. FFA is a portion of students’ agricultural education.
A key component of FFA is in-classroom agricultural education. Jessica Biernacki, the chair of the Cook County Farm Bureau® Young Leaders Group is an agriculture teacher at Momence High School and serves as the River Valley FFA Chapter Advisor. Stationed by the owl, she teaches introduction of agricultural science, animal science, plant science, and horticulture.
Students begin their agricultural education journey with introduction to agriculture which explores how the agricultural industry is organized; its major components; the economic influence of agriculture at the state, national and international levels; and the scope and types of job opportunities available in the agricultural field. Students also explore basic concepts in animal science, plant science, soil science, horticulture, natural resources, technology, environmental science, and aquaculture science and technology. While participation in FFA is not required, it is an integral component of a student’s leadership development and career exploration.
Biernacki is a life-long agriculturalist. Her journey started in her grandparents’, now parents’ greenhouse. Ted’s Greenhouse in Tinley Park offers the largest selection of cactus and succulents in the Midwest. In addition to cactus and succulents, the greenhouse offers a large selection of pre-made containers, perennials, annuals, herbs, and poinsettias. Biernacki remains involved in her family’s greenhouse still today.
Prior to teaching at Momence High School, Biernacki completed her bachelor and master degree in agricultural education at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. While completing her education, Biernacki served as a Research Assistant for the University of Illinois Animal Science Department and as the Cook County Master Gardener Program Coordinator for the University of Illinois Extension.
In addition to teaching and serving as the FFA Advisory for River Valley FFA, Biernacki is the Chair of the Cook County Farm Bureau® Young Leaders Group. Like many of her colleagues on the group, she believes that individuals need to seize every opportunity they’re presented with because even the seemingly smallest occasion can present life changing opportunities.
Through agriculture, horticulture, Farm Bureau, and teaching Biernacki is an integral part of an industry that positively impacts the lives of people all over the world.