THOMAS — Snake River High School agriculture teacher and Future Farmers of America (FFA) advisor Justin Patten is retiring from teaching at the end of this school year. Patten will be working with the Idaho Farm Bureau in the future.
"My favorite part about teaching is watching the students grow, said Patten.
"Students learn leadership through Future Farmers of America and start to understand their potential.
"In the shop, you can see the light click on about how things work, he said. "They begin to understand the skills they are gaining."
Last week, Snake River FFA hosted an Ag Expo for grade school students from Blackfoot and Snake River. Sixty Snake River students are part of FFA this school year.
The Ag Expo has been offered to grade school students every other year.
"It's organized chaos," Patten said. "The goal of the Ag Expo is to show kids where their food comes from and to show them the agriculture way of life."
Patten hales from Kuna, where his grandpa had a small acreage.
"He raised sugar beets, grain, hay, beans and corn," Patten said.
Patten has two degrees in agriculture education—a B.S. from Utah State and Masters from the University of Idaho.
"I taught welding in night school while going to college at Utah State," he said.
He taught at Bridgerland Applied Technology Center.
Patten will be working with the federation side of the Idaho Farm Bureau come June.
The federation works with an elected board of farmers and ranchers, Patten said.
There are 15 state board members.
Patten will be the regional manager for Southeastern Idaho. He will represent seven counties—Bingham, Bannock, Power, Oneida, Franklin, Caribou and Bear Lake.
Patten and his wife, Brenda, have three sons—Emmett, age 8, Ethan, 6, and Garrett, 2.