Ag Academy Senior Enjoys Maple Production

When Massena high school senior Randy Ward enrolled in BOCES’ Agricultural Studies Academy, he said he was looking to get a feel for the different types of agriculture that he had not yet been exposed to.“I learned a lot about maple production,” said Ward “what it takes to own and operate a sugar bush, the upkeep of all the equipment including evaporators, pumps, generators, right down to the chainsaws and tractors.”Ward says his favorite part about being enrolled at the Ag Academy has been working in the woods on the sugar bush.“There is constantly a task that needs to be done whether it be thinning or tapping trees.”

After he graduates from high school this spring, Ward says he plans to pursue an apprenticeship as an electrician, but hopes to return to ag as a source of secondary income in the future.When asked to give three words that describe the Ag Academy, Ward said; “Flexible, outdoors, and introductory.”Ward added that prospective students don’t need an ag background to enroll in the program.

The Agricultural Studies Academy at Cooperative Extension’s Learning Farm in Canton offers a one-year program to high school seniors who are interested in pursuing careers in agriculture or agribusiness.The program offers an integrated curriculum that emphasizes: business management, plant and crop science, ag mechanics, animal and veterinary science, food production and processing, computer applications, and environmental stewardship.In addition to receiving classroom instruction, the Academy’s location at the Learning Farm gives students the opportunity to receive hands-on field experience in livestock production and management, poultry production, hay production, rotational grazing, managing a sugar bush, as well as seasonal vegetable and fruit production.

Enrollment in the Ag Academy will be open through the month of April.To enroll, high school students graduating in 2018 must be in good academic standing and have completed their Regents requirements.Students interested in enrolling in the program can initiate the process by contacting their school counselor.Students and parents who would like to learn more about the Ag Academy, or would like to schedule a visit can contact Patty Gilbert at: (315) 379-9192 or email


Patrick Ames
Executive Director

Last updated April 6, 2017