'Just don't think of agriculture as farming,' FFA CEO says

'Just don't think of agriculture as farming,' FFA CEO says

 June 23, 2014

LEXINGTON, Ky. (RFD-TV) Nearly 600,000 students across the country are members of the national FFA organization.

Dr. Dwight Armstrong, FFA’s CEO, explains how it prepares students for life.

“I think one of the things that we try to do with young people is to help them explore what are the different careers. Because it’s one thing to say we have 300 different careers, but how do we help them see that. So there are eight different pathways: the animal, the plant, the biotech, the ag-mechanics, food and natural resources. And then each of those pathways have several different careers. And that’s where we want to be able to help those young people,” said Armstrong. “So first advice would be just don’t think of agriculture as farming. Just don’t think of agriculture as a very narrow range of opportunities.”

Armstrong says agriculture will have an even more important role in the future.

“Today is a great place to be in agriculture. Lots of opportunities because the No. 1 challenge that we have as a nation, as a country, as the world is how do we sustainably feed 9 billion people by 2050. Because when people say that in the next 40 years we have to produce as much food as we produced the last 8,000 years, think of the opportunity for developing technology, for having quality teachers, for having farmers and ranchers that know the science and technologies involved to make production better. And at the same time, we’ve got to do that in a way that we use less natural resources. We’ve got to sustain the planet,” he said. “So look at all the opportunities for young people to be involved in today in agriculture. So that would be my first advice is explore. And then, certainly, take advantage of the agriculture education program in your school and participate and learn more about what FFA is because it brings a lot of it to life. It give you something to belong to, not only in your school, but in other schools as you’re able to travel and do other things with FFA and agriculture education.”

At FFA events, like state conventions, the evidence is clear those students are prepared for life.

This year's national FFA convention and expo is Oct. 29 through Nov. 1 in Louisville, Kentucky.

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