I had mentioned the idea for this post to a friend as we chatted via Google, and she said just that: yout
h involvement rocks. She’s right. Youth, from their first 4-H involvement, up through college, are the “future.” Their involvement shapes the movements of tomorrow. They are the voices of tomorrow’s professionals and voters.
The experiences that students have now helps to shape policies that
will be built later on. After all, every adult was a child at one point in time, and their values are built throughout their lives. That’s part of the reason why I feel so strongly about youth involvement in agriculture. Other reasons include the development of responsibility, work ethic, passion, and a respect for humans, animals, and the Earth.
Since my start in 4-H, I’ve learned massive amounts about myself and others. My term as an FFA chapter President only solidified my values. Being involved in your community from a younger age is a must to becoming an upstanding citizen of it.
Today, Illinois State’s Collegiate FFA chapter is hosting several competitions for the high school FFA section. Think of it: college students, working to help high school students pursue their passions through constructive competition. This is
a perfect example of youth helping youth.
I know of several people on Twitter and Facebook who are incredibly involved across different age groups. Diana Como writes in a blog about her experiences as a developing member of the agriculture community. She’s currently in 4-H and works with sheep and poultry. She’s starting her experiences with beef this year. She hopes to be active in FFA soon, as well. She’s of the high school demographic, and she shares her experiences across social media. She’s even had a close brush with some animal rights people because of her firm stance and her passion for supporting agriculture.
Ryan Goodman can be seen in several places. He’s active in many groups on Facebook like College Students for Agriculture and I Am Agriculture Proud (which he founded). He also actively runs his own private blog, Sitting in the Pasture, and is regularly featured in Working Ranch Magazine’s blog. Ryan is currently studying livestock production at Oklahoma State
University and spends plenty of time sharing what he’s learning via Twitter and Facebook.
Celeste Laurent is another great example of involved, empowered youth. She’s boasted some impressive agriculture internships, and she’s double-majoring in journalism and animal science. She has her own website where she shares her perspectives and experiences. Celeste is a classic overachiever, in the best of ways. In high school, she was a state FFA officer, and in college she’s incredibly active in agricultural extra-curricular activities, despite her heavy studies. Like Ryan and Diana, she can be found on Facebook and Twitter, actively engaging non-agriculture folks and passing on her positive experiences.
These three are just a few examples of positive involvement in agriculture. I could go on and on about this. I could list millions of ways that agriculture and the youth organizations surrounding it have influenced me. Hearing it from me, however, does not make it real. Talk to 4-Hers, FFA members, and CFFA members. Learn about other great youth-related agriculture groups. Check out junior memberships to livestock and crop organizations. Kids love agriculture. So, support the future of farming. Support youth involvement.