Central High School veteran educator is recipient of award from federation
By Sally Voth
Central High School teaching veteran Dana Fisher's passion for agriculture was recognized with a Virginia Farm Bureau Federation award.
Dana Fisher was recently given the federation's Young Farmers Excellence in Agriculture Award.
The New Market father of three is in his 12th year teaching agriculture, and his 10th at Central. He teaches classes in foundations of agriculture, natural resources, leadership and horticulture.
According to the September/October issue of Virginia Farm Bureau News, the honor is given for "involvement in agriculture, leadership ability and involvement and participation in Farm Bureau and other organizations."
It states Fisher is an FFA adviser and chairman of the Shenandoah County Young Farmers Committee in addition to having served on the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers Committee for the past several years.
When Fisher was 7, he moved to a small farm in Maurertown, where his parents still work part time, he said in a Thursday interview. His mom was a teacher and his dad the postmaster in Woodstock.
"Having a mom who's a teacher, I used to joke that I never wanted to be a teacher," Fisher said, adding that he had seen all the work she had to take home with her.
While attending Central himself, Fisher got involved in FFA.
He enrolled at Virginia Tech as a history major, hoping to become a history teacher.
But, Fisher had been elected to state FFA office after his high school graduation, and "changed my major before I ever took a class at Tech."
"Haven't looked back," Fisher said of studying agriculture education instead of history. "It's given me a chance to stay close to agriculture."
He also got to stay in the education field.
"Those are two things that I'm extremely passionate about," Fisher said. "Production agriculture is an industry that has lost a lot of workers over the years."
More than 90 percent of the population 220 years ago was involved in agriculture production, compared to less than 2 percent today, he said.
"We've been able to do that because of advances in technology and advances in science," Fisher said. "That's where the growth is in agriculture."
While population continues to soar, no farming land has been reclaimed, he said.
"So, we're going to have to be better at what we do," Fisher said.
That means more science and technology workers to improve the mechanics of farming and crop varieties.
"It's going to take teams of people to have all that come together," Fisher said.
That has increased the demand for agriculture graduates, he said.
The award was an exciting honor, according to Fisher, 34. Through the application process, he had to reflect on what he's done and what he plans to do.
"The really neat part was to think about ways I could continue to have an impact, the ways I could improve, get better and help out agriculture in the future," Fisher said.
Contact staff writer Sally Voth at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or firstname.lastname@example.org