Whenever we talk about the future of agriculture, often organizations such as the National FFA Organization and the National 4-H Council are in the center of the conversation. The members of these communities are learning all about the ins and outs of the agriculture industry. With the support of community leaders, agriculture teachers, industry professionals, and others, these organizations are preparing future generations to lead the industry in the future.
To prepare its members for careers in agriculture, FFA provides multiple avenues of career development. There is so much more to the agriculture industry than running a successful farming operation. FFA members are prepared and introduced to careers in agribusiness, agrimarketing, science, communications, education, horticulture, production, natural resources, forestry and many other diverse fields.
With all these opportunities in agriculture it can sometimes be overwhelming. However, the agriculture industry is very supportive of those who are pursuing a career in this industry. Often, if you need something, you need only to ask. So we did!
On our Facebook page, we asked “What advice would you give to FFA members considering a career in the agriculture industry?”
The biggest take away from the over 160 comments: network, network, network!
Like many professions, it is all in who you know. This is the reason you complete multiple internships with different companies. Your name and reputation is very important in the agriculture industry, and this is why you work hard from day one. It is not always what you know, but who you know.
The comment with the most likes stated, “Leave the farm and your small town or immediate area and learn about a different form of ag in a different area. And keep learning. Sign up for the Ag Leadership programs, the summits, the conventions. Engage with the skeptics outside the industry — kindly and with facts. But engage the general population. And pray. Always pray.”
Other key advice included:
- Be a well rounded individual.
- It is OK to go against the norm, that is how change is made.
- If you plan to run your own farm, take an accounting and business class!
- Consider going to a trade school.
- No matter what you do, follow your passion.
- Find an SAE outside of school.
- Do the job interview contest.
- Ag jobs are not 9-5, be ready to work.
- Chase a dream, not a salary.
- Just DO IT!
The suggestion to leave one’s hometown or not actually generated a significant amount of debate. Many people suggested you had to leave the comfort of your own home to pursue your passion in agriculture. However, not everyone agreed with that statement, yet they all agree that leaving will garner new opportunities and learning environments.
It is also important to reiterate that going back or staying to support the community is admirable as well. If you do choose to leave, consider going back to your hometown with your new found knowledge and giving back to your community. Sometimes, you can learn just as much from your neighbor as you can from a textbook.
The last piece of advice that popped up fairly often was to marry for money. Although the advice was comedic, I am sure some farmers would be OK with that scenario. To view all the comments and to read for yourself, check out the post here.
Many agriculture professionals started their careers with a strong foundation in the National FFA Organization. After their time in FFA they went on to pursue their own passion in agriculture and learned many lessons along the way. Those in the agriculture industry are always looking for ways to help the future generation, so take this opportunity to read through their advice and take it all to heart.