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Program aims to engage youth in agriculture

Getting young people involved in a career in agriculture is the focus of a number of workshops happening around the state.

Posted: Nov 14, 2019 5:47 PM
Updated: Nov 14, 2019 6:07 PM

Many farmers in the dairy industry have had trouble surviving, so thinking about a career in that line of agriculture may not sound too appealing, but agriculture is far more expansive than the dairy industry.

Katie Carpenter is the state director of NY Agriculture in the Classroom. She talked about the state-wide push to get young people involved in a career in agriculture.

"This gives actually our students more opportunities, not just in production agriculture, but in those other 249 careers outside of what we traditionally think as farming," said Carpenter.

The NYS Regional Agricultural Education Confrence is geared at bringing programs into school districts in rural and urban areas where farming stereotypes are becoming a thing of the past. Ag Economic Development Specialist Marty Broccoli talked about the number of technologies needed in the AG Industry. 

"We’re looking at all modern technology with vertical greenhouses, aquaculture, looking at all the different meat proteins, all the modern ways now that food is being produced. So it’s not just cows and plows anymore," said Broccoli.

Bringing food to the table now requires an education in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, as well as practical uses in how to apply that to farming. Katie Carpenter explained where some of the STEM technologies are being used. 

"We need artificial intelligence, we need sensors, we need UV lights that are helping decrease funguses on our plants, and make sure that our crops stay healthy," she said.

State FFA Sentinel Taylor Rollins had no background in the farming industry, but spoke at the workshop with a knowledge of what agriculture has to offer.

"AG isn’t just production agriculture. There’s drone technology, there’s food science, there’s so many different aspects of agriculture to dive into, and there really is something that anyone’s interested in," said Rollins.

Funding is often an obstacle when starting any new program in a school, but there are funding options available. To learn about how to get funding go to: AGclassroom.org/NY

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