Finding the next generation of farmers can be a challenge, especially for those whose job it is to teach them.
University of Illinois Dean of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences Kim Kidwell said young people today just aren’t looking at agriculture.
“Quality of life is a big deal. The work days are really long during the growing season and people coming from the farms are [saying] ‘I don’t want to work that hard to be successful.’ So there’s been some of that going on.”
Kidwell cited the 60-plus hour work weeks and the challenge for a work/life balance as one of the major turnoffs of agriculture.
So it’s critical for the ag community to tell their story, and Kidwell said it’s a great story.
“What we do in this industry is directly visible in life. You can see the relevance of the work in everyday life; in people’s homes, in what they do every day.”
Kidwell said once the kids are exposed to the many opportunities in agriculture, they get excited about the industry, so she implores the ag industry to tell the story of farming and ranching and the various opportunities at schools or other places where they can teach young people.
Photo courtesy of Washington Agriculture in the Classroom Facebook