College of Agriculture

Chase Bisby

Agriculture Education

As author Robert Louis Stevenson said, “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” To agriculture education major, Chase Bisby, the significance of these words is monumental.

Bisby believes that teaching is a continual process, and if you truly invest yourself into your students each and every day—metaphorically planting those seeds—years later your abundant harvest is in their success. Through this belief and shared ideologies with faculty in the College of Agriculture, he has cultivated his own philosophy for education.  

Although he radiates this passion for agriculture education today, Bisby’s career path wasn’t always clear to him. Upon graduation from high school, a love for large animals led Bisby to Colorado State with the hopes of becoming a large animal veterinarian. One semester later, his heart still belonged in Northern California. He then attended the Yuba College Police Academy, graduating first in his class, but it still did not feel right. Ultimately, a plant science class at Butte Community College with Professor Carrie Monlux gave Bisby the assurance he needed. Although it took him a few years and a few college campuses to figure it out, Bisby, now a senior, can confidently say that he has found his passion in agriculture education.

“I now know where I am supposed to be, and that’s in the classroom as an agriculture teacher,” he said. “When you do something you love, it’s not work anymore. I know it is not going to be easy but it will be worth it. It just feels right.”

Graduating from a close-knit FFA program at Sutter High School and managing his grandparent’s equine boarding facility, Bisby quickly found his foothold in agriculture. With the support of a passionate agriculture advisor, Amanda Goes, Bisby became immersed in the FFA by raising market animals, serving in leadership positions at the chapter, section, and regional level, and competing in career and leadership development events. On his school farm, he had the opportunity to engage in production agriculture for the first time while managing the almond orchard and hay operation for over three years. This is where he first saw the impact of hands-on, facilitated learning.

“I didn’t play sports or do any clubs. Rodeo and FFA were my life, and that’s what made me who I am today,” he said.

In his first agriculture education course at Chico State with Professor Mollie Aschenbrener, Bisby was captivated by an assignment to develop his own teaching philosophy, and this is where his chosen path was solidified.

“Dr. A’s teaching philosophy is very influential, and you can see her portray it each day. She puts people above all else and builds relationships and forms understanding with her students, and uses it to effectively teach,” Bisby said.

Agriculture education professor Tommy Henderson and lecturer Alyssa Schager have influenced Bisby as well. He admires Henderson’s innovative teaching methods and willingness to take risks in the classroom by incorporating new ideas for the benefit of his students. Bisby appreciates the authenticity Henderson brings into the classroom and his use of hands-on learning for students to truly ‘try-on’ teaching.

Schager reached him on another level.

“She is the epitome of what I will strive to be as an agriculture teacher. Her ability to be transparent and vulnerable with her students is inspiring,” Bisby said.

The respect is mutual.  

“Chase seems to have the gift of connecting with people and makes anyone he comes across feel welcomed and special,” Henderson said. “I see Chase as a leader, and I am confident he will continue to develop this gift as he enters the California Agriculture Teacher’s Association.”

Schager agreed, saying Bisby has a heart of gold and an unwavering moral compass.

“Chase recently presented in the Ag Leadership Class and concluded his speech with a quote that embodies his selflessness, character, empathy, and servant leadership: ‘How we walk with the broken speaks louder than how we sit with the great,’” Schager said.

Surrounded by people who are willing to help each day, and selfless faculty members like Aschenbrener, Henderson, and Schager, the sense of camaraderie in the College of Agriculture has given Bisby a home away from home.

“They build relationships first and always put the needs of others above themselves. They come to class excited to teach and it makes students feel valued and excited to learn as well.” Bisby said.

Outside of school, you can often find him working, spending time with family and friends, or in the announcer’s seat at a rodeo. He also enjoys being outdoors hunting, fishing, camping, and going to the lake.

In addition, Bisby has worked as an intern for the Sutter High School in the agriculture mechanics shop and had the opportunity to witness the interactions between teachers and students and the impact each single encounter can make on a student. He is also humbled and honored to serve on the Sutter High School Agriculture Advisory Committee. These experiences have further solidified his chosen path.

Bisby advises incoming freshman to never forget who they are and where they came from.

“I never appreciated home until I left, but it made me who I am, and now I know that,” he said. “Stay open-minded because you don’t have to have it all figured out. I sure didn’t. But it’s an adventure, and now I’m where I’m meant to be.”

The spring 2019 semester will bring a new adventure for Bisby, as he enters the teaching credential program and begins his career.

“Most new teachers are apprehensive about how agriculture education will fit into their lifestyle but I’m going in knowing agriculture education is my life. All of the other stuff will work itself out,” he said.

In the future, Bisby hopes to teach at a small school in Northern California with the potential to lead students in facilitated learning projects on a production-based farm. Through hands-on learning, he wants to be able to give students a valuable experience, like he had, in agriculture.