Importance of Educating Our Future Leaders

Organizations like National FFA, Agriculture Future of America (AFA) and 4-H are vital to developing the future leaders of agriculture who can combat challenges in food production. Read the testimonials below about the importance of ag education to enhancing our food system.

I texted my farmer boyfriend one day and asked what he was up to on the farm. Since it was summer, I expected him to respond saying he was out spraying his fields for weeds. But instead he replied saying they were out hand-picking the weeds. They were carefully hand-picking and bagging waterhemp, a noxious weed that currently no chemistry can control during later crop stages. Another farmer had unknowingly brought the resistant waterhemp seeds from the county over on [his] planter tires when [he] planted the field neighboring his.

Next season, [my boyfriend] will use innovative weed management practices to control the weed early on. But as farmers wait for an innovative solution to control this weed during late crop stages, they will continue to hand-pick waterhemp in order to preserve the yields necessary to meet the global food demand. If that’s not stewardship, I don’t know what is.

  • Jennifer, South Dakota

I believe the biggest public misconception about agriculture is the importance and complexity of the industry and its effect on the growing human population. What many people neglect to understand is how important, regulated and volatile the agriculture industry truly is in today’s and the future’s environment. With an industry employed by roughly 2% of the U.S. population that affects nearly every human on the planet, it’s terrifying that most people do not realize the impacts of their daily decisions and utilize their personal efforts and time to secure the future of feeding the world.

Since the primary issues are unawareness and old habits, it deems simple to fix: Continue heightened, interactive awareness and sustainable practices are the answer. Where do we start? Driving educational awareness and experiences with our youth, like the 4-H and Future Farmers of America (FFA) organizations, that will ultimately drive passion within our future generations to ensure we continue to protect the most important industry through sustainability: agriculture. It’s how it all began, and it’s how we’ll continue to grow (with a rapidly growing population). It’s not about fixing the problem, it’s [about] planting the solution.

  • Marilyn Adams, Colorado

Although consumers are more involved with their diets than ever before, they are not necessarily better educated. This misconception is not all the consumer’s fault. There is a lot of noise out there in front of today’s consumer and not enough tools to decipher fact from fiction or good science from bad science. The solutions for these misconceptions are far from easy. Food and diet is a complicated subject. The entire agricultural industry, from farmers, to input suppliers, to grain companies to food processors need to be active participants in the discussion. From education in school, to social media, to day-to-day conversations, we need to do a better job of getting the facts in front of the consumers so that they can make informed decisions about what they eat.

  • Dustin, Canada
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