Most Oklahoma FFA Members at 2011 Convention Optimistic About Future of AgricultureFri, 13 May 2011 3:09:34 CDT
An overwhelming 80 percent of the FFA members visiting the Oklahoma Farm Bureau exhibit during the Oklahoma FFA convention, May 2-4, said they are optimistic about the future of agriculture.
"That does not surprise me as these kids tend to be a pretty optimistic group in general," said Chris Kidd, south central OFB field coordinator and Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee coordinator.
The OFB exhibit was a project of the YF&R committee in an effort to encourage FFA members to get more involved in agriculture leadership organizations.
The strong optimism was offset somewhat by the 61 percent who said they plan to study agriculture or work in an agriculture-related field after high school. That means almost 40 percent do not consider agriculture as a valid career path.
"Although that is good, (61 percent) it indicates they may be optimistic about the future of agriculture but don't see how they can make a career out of it," Kidd said.
Almost 700 FFA members completed the survey which included the questions: "What challenges do you see in agriculture today" and "What can be done to get more young people interested in agricultural careers?"
A popular answer to the "challenges" question was "lack of adequate financial incentives" and "no rain." The FFA members also believed the "shrinking farm population" and "anti-agriculture publicity" posed major challenges for the agriculture industry.
To encourage young people's interest in agriculture careers, the FFA members suggested more agriculture-related classes, advertise the need for agriculture involvement, and make agriculture more interesting by increasing the "fun factor."
"Overall, I believe this survey shows these young FFA members are generally excited about agriculture and look forward to a bright future," Kidd said.
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