Ag Today April 13, 2018

More local students look to careers in agriculture

Calley Cederlof, ccederlof@visaliatimesdelta.com Published 8:58 a.m. PT April 13, 2018

El Diamante High School juniors Makayla Avila and Michelle Imre spent Wednesday morning talking all things agriculture at the third annual Ag Career Expo.

Avila, who wants to be an ag educator, and Imre, who has her sights on animal science, spoke with local professionals, learned about college programs, and discovered the diverse career opportunities offered in the field of ag.

“Diverse” is the keyword event coordinator Kerissa Chapman hoped students walked away with.

“A lot of students previously thought, ‘I don’t have a farm, how can I get involved?'” Chapman said. “With this, they can see how many different careers there are in agriculture. So many people are involved in ag in some way or another.”

The expo gave more than 450 students from across the state the chance to interact and network with agriculture businesses and universities.

Upon graduating, the students will join the drove of people entering into the ag field of study — many right in the Central Valley at College of the Sequoias and Fresno State.

“We continue to have increased enrollment in all of our programs,” said Louann Walden, provost of the COS Tulare campus and dean of the ag division. “[The event] is an opportunity to show students a pathway. You don’t have to know what you want to do for the rest of your life, but you are responsible to start writing your own story and figuring out where you want to go. Ag is a viable option for them to consider.”

The event’s creator, Tyler Ribeiro, said he has seen a continued increase in excitement over career pathways within the ag industry.

“I’ve seen more driven and focused students come out of FFA and the Valley than any other industry,” Ribeiro said. “Part of that is the teachers and curriculum and the hands-on nature of a lot of these classes. Students enjoy getting back to ag.”

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