Keonte’ Edmonds Named Farm Bureau Foundation Fellow
Keonte’ Edmonds is a passionate advocate for agriculture education and mentorship. Growing up in a rural area of Virginia, he assisted his grandfather in running his farm and developed a love for animals and agriculture. Though he had an interest in the agricultural field, he didn’t have many mentors to guide him toward a career path. Edmonds became the first member of his immediate family to attend college and received his bachelor’s degree in animal science from Virginia State University. During his undergrad career, he interned at Cub Creek Science Camp in Rolla, Missouri, and after graduation, he became a 4-H camp counselor at Airfield Science Camp in Virginia. This is where his passion for teaching was discovered. Edmonds earned his master’s degree in agricultural education from North Carolina A&T State University in 2013.
Edmonds is passionate about teaching young people about agriculture and introducing them to the many professional pathways in the industry. Being a minority himself, he wants to show children of color, LGBTQ+ youth and anyone else who feels that agriculture may not be “for them” that there is a place for them in this community and industry. He founded a chapter of FFA at Central Middle School and led his students in building a working greenhouse that became their agricultural laboratory. Edmonds has been named Teacher of the Year by the students and faculty of both South Granville and Heritage High Schools in North Carolina, recognized as a Career and Technical Education Career Success Star in Virginia, and as a spotlight teacher by the National Association of Agriculture Educators. This has all led him to become a Farm Bureau Foundation Fellow. With over 220 applications, Edmonds was one of four selected nationwide.
Today, as he pursues his doctoral degree in agricultural and extension education from NC State University, he hopes to use technology and his position as a Farm Bureau Foundation and Google Fellow to show youth the career opportunities available to them in this field. His academic advisor, Wendy Warner, states “Keonte’ is a talented and innovative teacher. It is exciting the impact his work will have on promoting agricultural literacy and building digital skills for students across the country.” Currently, Edmonds teaches agriculture at Apex Friendship High School and also at North Carolina Virtual Schools, while also working part-time at Banfield Pet Hospital. Edmonds states that “Agriculture impacts what students eat and what they wear in ways they don’t understand until we show them. This is important and that’s why we need to advocate for ag education in the classroom.”
Edmonds was able to host an event this week to present on his goals for the fellowship and celebrate this achievement with students, friends, family and the academic community. As a Farm Bureau Foundation Fellow, he is working to develop a place-based curriculum that incorporates agriculture, technology and digital skills into a lesson on Google’s Applied Digital Skills platform. He believes that access to technology is essential to educational success in rural communities and wants to ensure that tomorrow’s leaders and champions of agriculture have the digital skills to advocate for this industry and for themselves. Congratulations on this amazing opportunity and your future success.