MONROE COUNTY, Ga. — Students are finally getting to use a new barn designed to help them get into the state's billion dollar agribusiness industry.

The show pigs aren't afraid to get up close and personal, and neither are the Monroe County Middle School agriculture students who are learning about them.

"We got to see the pigs, we got to see how they work. How they are. I didn't know if you scratch their tummy they'd fall over," 8th grader Preston Cooper said.

"I liked watching them lick the post because they didn't look very smart," 8th grader Carson Brown said.

It's the first time the school's offered a full-time agriculture program for students. 

Their teacher, Skyler Alexander, says she wishes she had that opportunity.

"I didn't have agriculture. I didn't get it till high school," Alexander said.

She teaches 6th, 7th, and 8th graders the farming basics, to help them prepare for advanced lessons in high school.

"Last fall, they opened up the greenhouse at our school that allows the kids, like this semester, we're going to do like tomatoes and we're going to grow sunflowers in the raise beds," Alexander said.

With the help of private donors and grants, Alexander says they built a new barn in October.

"This is kind of allowing kids to have the livestock experience that they wouldn't get. They also get a lot of AG mechanics as well, being able to build fences and repair all of our equipment that the pigs use," Alexander said.

Her students say it's an important class to have.

"So kids know how to take care of their farm or take care of their crops," Cooper said.

"It sets a good foundation for what you want to do," Brown said.

Alexander's next step is to bring dairy cows and a chicken coop to the barn here to give her students the full livestock experience.

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