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State Ag Commissioner visits ACHS

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles stopped by the Adair County High School ag shop Thursday afternoon for his first-ever visit at ACHS.

Quarles visited with ag students, teachers, school and district administrators, and local officials who were in attendance. He toured the agriculture department facilities, took questions from students, and offered words of encouragement to the youngsters in attendance. 

“I remember when I was in high school, sometimes I didn’t know if I was good enough to compete against people from other parts of the United States,” Quarles explained. “Sometimes I felt like maybe I didn’t have the confidence to compete with kids who maybe didn’t grow up in rural areas. You know what I learned years later? I’m blessed that I grew up in rural Kentucky, because the lessons I learned on the farm, the lessons I learned in my FFA chapter, were vital, and I couldn’t have gotten them elsewhere.” 

The commissioner went on to explain what he admires about young FFA students and the values they learn from the often labor-intensive work they undertake. He said these values are in short supply among the current generation.

“There’s something special about being part of a program where you have to earn it,” he said. “Things are not given to you, so whether it be a woodworking project or restoring a tractor, it takes effort, it takes grit, and you cannot be afraid to get dirt or grease on your hands. There’s a whole generation of Americans, unfortunately, that don’t want to work with their hands.” 

A school-wide assembly in the ACHS gym was being held at the same time as Quarles’ visit, so most of the students he met with were junior and senior officers as well as a few FFA upperclassmen who ag teacher Kirby Hancock said “must have snuck away from the assembly to meet him.” 

State Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles speaks at the Adair County High School ag shop, Thursday, April 21, 2022.
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Wes Feese is one of this company's owners and founders. He has previously worked as an editor, news reporter, sportswriter, photographer, and freelance contributor for newspapers across central Kentucky. He grew up in the Egypt community of Adair County and is a graduate of Adair County High School and Lindsey Wilson College.