From the tractor
by Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler
I have talked a lot about the importance of encouraging young people to consider a career in agriculture or agribusiness. I have had two opportunities recently to do just that and I have thoroughly enjoyed both.
Anyone who knows me knows that it doesn’t take much prodding to get me talking about my love of agriculture or sharing some of my experiences as a farmer with young people.
In February, I began a new partnership with N.C. State University by hosting the first of three lectures as part of the Commissioner’s Speakers Series. The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has had a storied history of working with N.C. State to advance the profession of agriculture, and this series is an exciting new extension of this partnership.
This lecture series is designed for students in the College of Agriculture and Life Science and will feature a number of guest speakers coming in to talk about their particular area of knowledge in agriculture. I moderate the discussions, giving students an opportunity to ask questions and learn from some of the successful leaders and pioneers in the industry.
The first lecture was “International Agriculture Marketing: Lessons from North Carolina’s Experts.” The March 11 lecture will be on “The Realities and Rewards of Farming as a Career Choice” and the April 14 series finale will be on “Innovation in Agriculture: What’s the Next ‘Big Thing?”
One of my main goals is to give students information and inspiration about agriculture, and I am looking forward to the next lectures.
Also in February, I was able to attend the 54th National Outstanding Young Farmers Award banquet hosted by the national Jaycees organization. This annual event recognizes a young farmer for his or her commitment and dedication to excellence in agriculture. Farmers are nominated at the state level, and compete against other state nominees for the national award.
Several years back, I was the national award winner and it was quite an honor -- one that I am still humbled by and extremely proud of.
The highlight of the event for me was being able to meet with the national winner and talk a little about farming. It was a great evening and a great event, and hopefully it helps these young honorees continue to stay motivated in their pursuit of a farm career.
Anybody who has ever farmed knows how difficult it can be sometimes in agriculture.
We have experienced successes and we have experienced failures. We have faced good years and we have faced desperately lean years. We have learned from others and we have learned from our own mistakes. But for some of us, agriculture is just in our blood.
It is a way of life that enables us to provide for our families, and it gives us personal satisfaction.
To all the farmers out there I say thank you for continuing to do what you love so we can all eat and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
And I challenge you to continue to be mentors and role models for younger farmers. Everyone has a story to share, and I bet a majority of you have a success-from-near-failure experience that you can pass along as a point of inspiration.
We are going to need these young farmers in the future, and I intend to do my part to see that they prepare themselves for success.