My Crystal Ball
The future of agriculture is in the youth of today, but as I look at some of the fine specimens that inhabit the mall here in Casper, I can’t help but be worried about the future of our country – that is until last week, when I attended the AgriFuture Conference in Laramie.
Students from Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, South Dakota and Utah joined together with industry professionals and producers to talk about the challenges facing the industry and come up with solutions to ensure the survival of agriculture.
The students arrived full of energy, enthusiasm and ideas to solve the problems of the next generation. Their knowledge and insight was impressive and gave me a renewed hope for what will occur as the current generation of farmers and ranchers continues to age.
The students realized that, to keep American agriculture alive and well, it is necessary to continue to educate the public, as well as the industry, and advocate for agriculture. They came up with solutions relating to everything from how to involve consumers in the industry to how agriculturalists can become more integral in connecting with the public.
Students suggested that producers and industry members make connections outside the agriculture sphere to bring their positive image to the consumer and become more involved in agriculture promotions. They mentioned how important it is for advocates to know their facts and be consistent. As producers, students also found it important to continue education and to close the gap with technology, by embracing social media and other technology.
After just a day and a half in Laramie, I am more confident than ever that the future of agriculture is in good hands.
While AgriFuture was geared toward college students connected to agriculture, this week we also have the chance to watch high school students from Wyoming show us what they have to offer at the National FFA Convention.
Students from across the state have travelled to Indianapolis, Ind. to compete in a wide range of career development events. These contests revolve around all aspects of agriculture, including judging contests, ag business events and public speaking. We have the chance to see how our students match up to those in the rest of the nation. Wyoming has an incredible reputation on the national level for producing worthy competitors, and this year is no exception.
We have also sent a candidate to National Convention to go through a rigorous week of interviews, presentations and essay-writing events in an attempt to secure a National FFA Office. Catlin Caines of Hyattville also represented Wyoming last year, and he has progressed to the final round of the selection process this year. National officers will be announced Oct. 22.
Good luck to all who have traveled to Indianapolis this year – we know our Wyoming students will represent us well!
As I look into my crystal ball, searching for the answers to the future of the agriculture industry and the future of our nation, I think we are in good hands. The bright, enthusiastic students involved in agriculture are innovative and willing to take on the challenges that are presented. For the future, it seems to me that things might not look so grim after all.