by Sheridan Stewart, Wyoming FFA Vice President
When he started into his college education, Mr. Ellis was unaware that his path would
lead him to become Evanston’s first ag teacher and founder of Evanston FFA, or even that he
would graduate with an agriculture education degree at all. In fact before he settled on ag ed,
he changed his major twice. He contributes finding his calling in life to his upbringing, his own
ag teacher, and his wife; whom he meant while in college, while country dancing.
At the age of 7, Ellis moved back to the family ranch in Hamner, ID; that his grandpa
purchased at the end of the Great depression. Today, he in his free moments, he still ranches
there with his father and owns a portion of their cattle operation. He took this grass root ag
upbringing and the style of his own ag teacher and applies it to his own program. His emphasis
lies in teaching about the industry first. He finds joy in working with “teenagers that are and he
can help to mold into the ‘do’ers’ and actors of the world.” He practices what he preaches here
being very dedicated to his job; going so far as to give up a period of precious prep time to
ensure that all students interested can take an ag class.
He states that “ag is the future!” The way for agriculture education to stay relevant today
simply lies in FFA’s first name – future. He always makes sure to be up to date on industry
trends and facets and the applies this to his classes by “still teaching the basics but keeping up
with industry demands.” He now has a science accreditation also so his students can receive
credit for the science they learn in class. He is firm in his underlining and core belief that
agriculture, especially both formal and informal education of the most vital industry, is for
everyone. Using his language skills gained in Peru, while on a 2 year mission, he utilizes his
bilingual ability to ensure he can educate foreign exchange and students who don’t speak
English as their first language to the best of his ability.