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High school builds student-managed greenhouse

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ORRICK, Mo. -- In Ray County, farming means a bushel to the local economy.

That's part of the reason Orrick High School used grant money to build a student-managed greenhouse.

Students from the school's FFA chapter are busy working in the greenhouse after last week's grand opening ceremony.

Teacher Don Honeycutt is at the heart of this growing program. He's been an ag educator in this school system for the past 15 years.

During the past 24 months, His FFA students have received $30,000 in grants from the Monsanto Corporation. The school used the money to buy building materials and volunteers to put this structure together.

"We're going to increase their knowledge of math and science skills in the future with this greenhouse," Honeycutt said. "We'll use it for experiments and keep going with it."

Students are learning from the roots up,  raising tomato and pepper plants from the seed, and selling them to local gardeners.

"I've learned patience, patience, patience," Cody Sparks, Orrick High School student, said. "Building a greenhouse was stressful, but now that we're actually selling plants, it's been a great experience."

And it isn't only high school students learning the basics of plant production. The FFA involves students from every level of the Orrick School System.

"It's been fun when we can do this thing with bigger kids," Kyla Beard, Orrick Elementary School student, said.

Every dollar made from the plant sales goes back into the FFA's education programs, which are meant to train these students in Ray County, as well as those to come.

Honeycutt tells FOX 4 news the school's next ag project will involve production of hydroponic plants. The school already has the needed gear purchased, and will begin that program next year.

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