Agriculture education was a very important aspect of my life through my high school years. I grew up in a rural community so it was common to have agricultural classes in high school. Once you migrate outside of the rural areas, this becomes an uncommon trend among schools. I believe that with the increasing issues in the agriculture industry, it is very important that high schools implement agriculture education into their programs so that we can educate the public.
When I started writing this blog, the first person that came to my mind for valuable input on this topic was my high school agriculture instructor Steve Buyck. When I asked him what he thought the key points were about agriculture education in high school, the first thing that he mentioned was creating agriculture literacy. He said, “Fewer and fewer students are coming from a production agriculture background, so agriculture needs to continue to educate those students of the importance and what agriculture does for them.” I thought this was a very fitting comment given the fact that I am taking an agriculture issues class currently and this is something that we have discussed quite often. With agriculture being such a vast industry, I believe that it is important to have this education in high schools. Agriculture education is not just for the rural communities. If it is offered in a public high schools around the nation, or even the world, we can have a much larger voice for our industry.
The second key point that Mr. Buyck said was careers. He said,”Agriculture continues to evolve and needs people. Agriculture creates many careers and agriculture needs people to fill those careers. Students need to explore the vast number of careers available to them in agriculture. Many of the students do not realize all the careers
available to them related to agriculture. Agriculture needs people with a basic understanding of agriculture to continue to meet the challenges of the non-agriculture minds.” Agriculture is not just corn and soybeans or cattle and swine. Deep in the heart of some urban cities sit some of the largest agriculture based companies in the world. Agriculture education can make the connection with these companies to set up future careers for students. They offer many types of internships in all areas of agriculture. This gives students a feel of what part of the industry they have an interest in. With agriculture education in high school, there is more of a target for the agriculture industry to find future employees.
The agriculture industry is the base of our world’s economy. If anyone is even remotely interested in this industry, agriculture education can give them that knowledge and know how to succeed. It is a vast world out there and agriculture education can help bridge that gap from student to employers. Through scholarships and internships, the agriculture industry wants its people to succeed. I firmly believe that putting agriculture education into all high school programs will not only be a benefit to students, but to the community and industry as a whole.
My name is Tyler Lentz, I am a senior at Western Illinois University studying Agriculture Business with minors in both Agronomy and Animal Science. I grew up on a small family farm raising a herd of 25 head of beef cattle. I am actively involved as an alumni member of my FFA Chapter. I truly do believe in the future of agriculture and all that it can do. I plan to be involved in agriculture with every aspect of my life upon graduation of college. I want to see our industry succeed and hope that one day I can leave my mark on an industry that has given so much to me.