Rob Sharkey, agriculture influencer, speaks at a school event.
Rob Sharkey, agriculture influencer, speaks at a school event.

RICHMOND, Va. — April 2024 — The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) proudly supports the future of agriculture, which recently included hosting an exciting contest at the 2023 Future Farmers of America (FFA) Convention. As part of this event, students could enter to win the opportunity to have agriculture influencer Rob Sharkey, known to many as “The SharkFarmer,” visit their school. 

This year’s winner was Dayton High School, located in Dayton, Oregon. The Dayton FFA Chapter stood out because of its dedication to agriculture education and community involvement, including the use of propane for its building heat, generator, forklift, and garden shed — an integral part of the school’s notable agriculture and horticulture program. Here, students manage every step of the plant growth process — from seeding to sales — fostering leadership and entrepreneurial skills. 

Mitch Coleman, FFA sponsor for Dayton High School, plays a pivotal role in molding future agricultural leaders. His dedication to his students and demonstration of innovative solutions like propane have played a significant role in student successes. Under his guidance, students not only learn about animal science and farm management but also apply these lessons in real-world scenarios. 


“I help create opportunities for students to apply what they learn so they will remember it forever,” said Coleman. “Wherever I take students becomes a new classroom — from the welding shop, greenhouse, or nature trail to county and state fairs, and the many FFA field trips we go on throughout the U.S. My goal is to help students find meaning and purpose in all they do.” 

Rob Sharkey is an Illinois grain farmer, podcast and radio show host, and host of multiple TV shows on RFD-TV and PBS. His visit to Dayton High School offered students the opportunity to engage directly with a prominent voice in modern agriculture, and his insights and support helped inspire students to dream big and develop a broader perspective on agriculture challenges and innovations. 

“By partnering with influential figures like Rob Sharkey and engaging with FFA chapters, we want to support the next generation of farmers by sparking interest and driving innovation within the farming community,” said Mike Newland, director of agriculture business development at PERC. “This contest is a way to honor those going above and beyond in their communities to ensure a vibrant future in agriculture, and we’re excited to see how propane continues to play a role in this. These students are the future of farming, and we’re here to help them thrive.” 

To learn more about PERC’s work and initiatives, please visit For additional information about the programs at Dayton High School’s FFA chapter, visit