In attempts to increase teenagers interest in the agriculture industry, the 91st annual Future Farmers of America State Convention was held from Thursday, April 25th through Sunday, April 28th.
“A big part of FFA is having an agricultural classroom, so we are being taught the general aspects of [the] agriculture industry,” Hamilton City FFA Chapter President Jared Poldervaart said. “Another part of FFA [is] Supervised Agriculture Experiences, with that, you can work in the agriculture industry or on a farm, and bring [those skills] back to the classroom.”
Founded in 1928, FFA is a national youth organization that promotes environmental and agricultural education in both middle and high schools.
“With FFA we have a wide variety of opportunities, such as huge conventions and animal showcases,” Poldervaart said. “ FFA is a big part of bringing agriculture to the public and the best thing is to get yourself out there.”
Not only does the organization focus on preparing students for jobs in the farming industry, but it also prepares them for a broad range of career fields such as biology, chemistry, veterinary, engineering and entrepreneurship.
“When I was a middle schooler in Delaware, the school loosley worked with FFA, since the nearest high school was a proud member,” junior Jennifer Shelley said. “Throughout elementary school, I was required to take multiple agricultural related classes and looking back I realize grooming children into farmers is important. Farmers, in my eyes at least, are the dark horse of society.”
Since there is not a FFA chapter on campus, similar organizations promoting sustainability and understanding agriculture exist, such as Environmental Club.
“[Environmental Club] helps with the education of how our actions affect the world around and the place we call home,” former Environmental Club president Chance Cain said. “It is important [for students to join clubs like Environmental Club] because everything you would have learned in the club would help you in everyday life. [It also] will change the way you see problems in the world.”
Through organizations, such as FFA and Environmental Club, students learn about agriculture, and day to day skills, that will be recommended in the future.
“Personally, I think it’s important to teach agriculture in schools because it shows us the values of what goes on for farmers of the US,” junior Chasen So said. “We should know how we are provided with food, clothes or any of our consumable products as a nation.”
For students interested in careers of the agriculture field, options are available and accessible outside of school. Multiple agricultural related jobs are offered, along with options as simple as growing a home garden.
“[Learning about agriculture] is important for the fact that many people have a disconnect on where their food comes from,” Cain said. “People don’t know that their food travels hundreds of thousands of miles, if not from the other side of the world, just to be on their dinner plates. Many people take the hard work of agriculture for granted.”[poller_master poll_id=”905″ extra_class=””]