Supporting the Future of California Agriculture
As we look into the future of our company, our industry, and our communities, we feel it is incredibly important to continue investing in the future generations of California agriculturalists. Many of us have had past experiences with youth agriculture organizations such as FFA, 4-H, or California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom. In combination with in-school education and on-farm experiences, these organizations have helped develop our current leaders in California agriculture and will continue to develop them in the future.
Here at Grow West, we personally have been impacted by these organizations and value their importance for our industry as a whole. Andrew Rumsey, Grow West PCA was strongly influenced by his local FFA chapter.
“I always wanted to be involved in farming, but there wasn’t necessarily an opportunity for me to be an actual farmer. I knew I wanted to be in the industry, but I didn’t know exactly where I fit in. My FFA advisor who had worked in custom spraying suggested that I look into becoming a PCA. He said I had the skills and personality to succeed in that field. That was in 9th grade. He helped me connect the dots and lead me down the right career path at an early age,” shared Andrew.
These organizations not only help with learning about agriculture related topics such as plant science, animal science, or agribusiness, but they also have numerous leadership and networking opportunities for the youth that participate as well. In an effort to bring light to the impact of these, we reached out to numerous young people and adults in the industry to gather their perspectives.
Walker Masie, a current marketing professional in the agriculture industry, shared, “These organizations not only provide you with the knowledge, tools, and skills to be a successful working professional in the agriculture industry but also to be a servant leader and to give back to your community. That’s what makes agriculture so special, the people.
Katie Brown, a current member of the Ukiah FFA Chapter, comments, “I really enjoy being able to learn more about the industry and be exposed to many different options for future careers.”
Jeff Gleaves, Ukiah Farm Supply store Manager, shares, “[FFA] teaches you a lot of responsibility, to work for and with others, friendly competitions, and sportsmanship. All a variety of skills that are important throughout your entire life and especially in our industry.”
Although this year has been a challenging one for many of us – especially these youth programs who cannot meet in person – it is important for us to continue to pour into the future generations either monetarily or through our ability to volunteer and share knowledge with these students. Thank you to all who help educate and support the next generation of California agriculturalists.