Any career that you find outside of agriculture can be found in the field of agriculture.
The sad reality of today is that many students who enjoy attending their agricultural classes do not realize that they could make a career out of what they are learning. So many students love their ag classes and the projects that derive from them, but few of them realize that they can make money doing what they love as adults.
I aim to change that.
A few years ago I had the opportunity to start what is now called “The Ag Career Expo.” The Ag Career Expo is an event that gives students in high school and college the opportunity to meet with businesses, colleges, and trade schools that are based in agriculture so that they can get a grasp of what careers are available to them now and in the future. At the same time, the businesses and schools get to meet with students who are interested in working in the agricultural community. It’s a match made in heaven! By the end of the day the students will not only have a greater understanding of agriculture, but an idea of how to plan for their future.
So how does the Ag Career Expo work? It is a four-hour event held during the school day that begins with students and teachers getting a little “ag swag,” which is donated by agricultural businesses from around the area. As the students make their way to their seats, they will find three blank business cards. The students are encouraged to fill them out and use them at the event. The cards have two purposes: One is to serve as a contact card, but the second reason they have the cards is so they can practice the lost art form of “breaking the ice” and introducing themselves to potential employers and teachers.
After a keynote speaker, the students get the opportunity to explore a variety of booths that are hosted by businesses, colleges, and trade schools. The attending businesses set up booths that they feel accurately represent the careers they have to offer, now and in the future. Some businesses have gone as far as bringing large machinery and trucks!
I love the Ag Career Expo for this simple reason: We are educating and mentoring our future workforce while helping them find careers that they love.
If you would like more information or are interested in starting an Ag Career Expo in your area, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tyler Ribeiro is a fourth-generation dairy farmer born and raised in California. He is currently partners with his father at Rib-Arrow Dairy in Tulare where they proudly ship their milk to Land O’Lakes. Tyler is actively involved in the dairy industry, holding leadership roles in various organizations locally and across the United States.