By Kristen Miller
DASSEL, COKATO, MN “For me, I know ag education would not be as strong as it is without them,” said Dassel-Cokato High School agriculture instructor Eric Sawatzke about the Minnesota Agriculture Education Leadership Council (MAELC).
MAELC is a 16-member legislative council dedicated to improving and restructuring agricultural education in Minnesota at all levels.
Former Dassel-Cokato School Board member Kevin Dahlman serves on MAELC, is the governor’s appointment on the legislative council, and is ending a four-year term. He has not decided if he will continue for another term.
“It’s nice to be at the same table aa these stakeholders who have vested interest in agriculture education in Minnesota,” Dahlman said.
According to its website, MAELC was founded in 1997, and includes members from various public, private, and governmental entities. These members are agri-business leaders, teachers, legislators, and other people interested in agricultural education. They also come from a variety of rural, suburban, and urban backgrounds to work together on challenges facing agricultural education.
MAELC met at DC for its quarterly meeting Sept. 27, where the members conducted business that included reviewing the budget and setting criteria for grant applicants, Dahlman explained. He added that MAELC awards different competitive grants each years, including a program improvement grant that assisted in making the food science program possible at DC High School.
The members of MAELC also had lunch with the FFA officer team and toured the agriculture department.
For Sawatzke, it was an honor to have them there.
“MAELC creates a stability in our agriculture program throughout our state because we know we have support all the way up to the legislature.,” Sawatzke said.