We’re going to need bright, young leaders in agriculture, to help us meet the challenge of feeding a growing world,” said Donnie Smith, CEO of Tyson Foods. I recently read this quote while scanning through a social media site. These words are packed full of so much power and truth. It’s no surprise that a challenge will arise as we face a growing world population and limited farmland. Luckily, we have technology on our side and bright young leaders to take us there.
So how do we keep these young leaders interested in agriculture? I think this is a question everyone in the agriculture industry has asked at one time or another.
I think for some youth it’s a matter of passion and family heritage. No matter what these are the people who take a real sense of pride in agriculture and consider it an honor to carry on the family tradition. These leaders are extremely important for our future.
On the other hand, I think future generations of agriculturalist need to be exposed to the endless career opportunities available in agriculture. These youth need to be reassured that there are more jobs out there besides returning home to the farm. These leaders are also extremely important to our future.
Thankfully, there are great organizations, like FFA and 4-H, that keep kids interested in agriculture and shape them into leaders. Of course, the National FFA Organization holds a special place in my heart. It’s because of opportunities I had through FFA that I chose a career in ag.
According to the National FFA website there are close to 600,000 FFA members nationwide. The National FFA website also states, “According to the student magazine readership study, 87 percent of students are interested in learning about career exploration, 81 percent about college preparation and 81 percent about technology.” These are encouraging numbers.
To take part in shaping the future and to keep youth interested in agriculture I am working with a group of ag alumni from Missouri State University to raise scholarship dollars for ag students. I know the struggle these students face financially as they attend college and know how much scholarship money can help.
I think Donnie Smith is correct, we will need bright, young leaders to help us meet the challenge of feeding a growing world population but I think we are well on our way to developing those leaders.
Best wishes,



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here