Alma’s new agriculture program officially launches when school starts next month, but the person hired last spring to help get it off the ground has actually been busy laying the groundwork since July 1.

That was the day Lakan Brumley started her career as the school’s agri teacher. She was introduced to area Farm Bureau members during their monthly board meeting held July 9 in Van Buren.

“I’m realy excited to be at Alma,” she told the group. “I grew up in FFA showing pigs, giving speeches, going to leadership conferences, whatever it may have been. I also grew up helping my dad in our small cow-calf operation, so I have an agriculture background and I have a love for the industry. So I’m excited to be at Alma and for the opportunities that lie ahead for the program.”

Brumley, who grew up near Enid, Okla., graduated from Oklahoma State University. She said she is quickly becoming familiar with the Alma area and is eager for the start of the new year.

“It’s been great. I’ve been getting settled in and figuring out where everything is,” she said. “I got my classroom together, so now I’m working on getting all those supplies ordered for the year and getting all that curriculum together. I’m ready for school to start, but clearly I’m not prepared for school to start just yet.”

She said the idea of getting a new program started at AHS is “really exciting” and she hopes the number of students interested in jumping on the agri bandwagon will continue to grow.

“We’ve grown our numbers some since the end of the school year,” she said. “I think it will be a really good start to get the program running and going and to get kids involved in doing things.

“The way I understand it,” she continued, “is that for the first week or so they’ll be able to switch their schedules as they want to. So we may gain some more during that time and that would be great. The more the better.”

Brumley said her focus in the program right now is to get students familiar with the basic, to find out what areas they are interested in and to grow their excitement in those areas.

“Right now we’re just starting with the introduction to all segments of agriculture and to look at that this year,” she said. “Since it’s a new program we’re going to start at ground zero. For me it’s going to be looking at these students and finding what they’re excited about in all these different segments and to be able to build on that next year. That’s how I keep my enthusiasm, to take what they’re excited about and to grow that and pursue that, as well as finding out what the community has to offer in these segments of agriculture.”

Brumley said while the timing of the program’s start doesn’t mesh very well with getting Alma students involved with the first big agri event of the school year — the Crawford County Fair — she did say she would be on hand with an eye to her students’ involvement in the 2020 fair.

“Because most of those deadlines have either passed or are coming up very soon we’ll have students that may only be able to bring projects, ” she said, “but as far as livestock projects, that won’t be occurring this year. We’ll prepare to have that next year, and of course we’ll build on that and what we call those supervised agriculture experiences or student projects, to really grow that throughout the year and find out what students want to do. Will I be there? Oh, yes.”

School district patrons and general members of the public will have a chance to meet Brumley at a drop-in reception Thursday, July 25, from 4-7 p.m. at Warren’s Rec Room, 1437 W. Newberry Rd. in Alma. There will also be an opportunity at the reception for interested individuals to sign up to become a member of the Alma FFA Supporters and Alumni group, which is a non-profit booster club that’s being formed to help support the school’s new agri program.