Nearly 150 FFA members from across Michigan gathered in Lansing recently for the 2021 Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources Careers Conference, a cooperative effort between the Michigan FFA Association, Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB) and the Michigan Foundation for Agriculture.
Held in conjunction with the Michigan Association of Agriscience Educators Fall Professional Development Conference, students spent their morning participating in the Dollars and Sense of Life curriculum designed in partnership between MFB and Greenstone Farm Credit Services.
The curriculum gave middle and high school students real experiences with AFNR careers, budgeting and decision making as they played out a month in the life of a professional. Through both probability- and choice- based scenarios, students received a real life look at the income, expenses, and choices facing people in the workforce.
After a networking lunch, students attended three breakout sessions of their choosing centered around MFB’s Be Agriculture career areas:
- Be the Caregiver, Melissa Elischer, MSU Extension 4-H Dairy Educator
- Be Scientific, Dr. James Averill & , MSU College of Vet Med
- Be Constructive, Ralph Hansen, AIS Construction Equipment
- Be the Process, Clarence Rudat, MSU Product Center
- Be Resourceful, Brian Gardner, Angie King, and Leslie Siefka, MSU Institute of Agricultural Technology/Collegiate Farm Bureau
- Be the Story, Jon Adamy, Michigan Farm Bureau
- Be the Change, Alex Schnabelrauch, Michigan Farm Bureau
Students were encouraged to consider their future career opportunities and how they could “Be Agriculture” based on their interests and talents. Next steps were provided in each session for students to return home and continue learning about career opportunities within the agricultural sector.
An estimated 54,400 agriculture-related job openings annually await those with four-year and higher college degrees — not including the consistently high demand for skilled tradesmen and -women.
If your county Farm Bureau is interested in helping students experience how they can “Be Agriculture”, MFB offers a how-to guide to incorporate agricultural careers as guest speakers, career panelists, in a career fair or as a field trip option. You can also check out these resources as hand-out or prize options when your members interact with students!