Local high school students discover expanding careers in agriculture

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By Elizabeth Varin

evarin@aberdeennews.com

GROTON — Careers in agriculture used to mean not having many options. Or so it was thought, anyhow.

Not anymore.

“They used to say it was just cows, sows and plows, but today it’s so much more,” said Groton FFA adviser and agriculture teacher Adam Franken.

FFA students have ways to navigate those future professions, and Groton Area School last week hosted an event that helped them do just that.

Students filled the gym. Then they overflowed to community churches, the Groton Community Center and local farms.

About 600 students from 25 schools around the state attended Thursday’s Groton FFA Career Development Event. They were tested on different aspects of agriculture, from agronomy to natural resource identification.

“I have had students discover what they wanted to do in life and in their careers because they tried a couple different career development events,” Franken said. “Now they’re in school for wildlife conservation or a pre-vet major down at” South Dakota State University in Brookings.

Events like Thursday’s help students find their passion and look for ways they can become more involved, he said. They develop leaders in agriculture.

FFA career development events are scheduled across the state and nation. They allow FFA members to compete and learn job skills in everything from communications to mechanics, according to the group’s website.

The sessions are an excellent learning experience, said Groton Area junior Josie LaMee. They are a competition, and they are just fun, too.

She was at the goat area Thursday, but she said she learned about more than just goat care. She learned about the market and what people want to buy.

LaMee hopes to go into a swine management career and said the event helped her learn more about differences in show animals and market animals.

As for the future the industry, LaMee said she sees more people looking into the agriculture field for jobs.

“The future of ag, it’s improving,” she said. “The more people that get involved, the better and the more agriculture will thrive.”

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Woonsocket High School sophomore Megan Linke, left, and Hitchcock-Tulare High School freshman Kenidee Enander take a close look at oat samples during an FFA Career Development Event at Groton Area High School on April 5. Farm Forum photo by Elizabeth Varin
Faulkton High School senior Austin Brown, senior Gannon Martinmass and junior Alex Aesoph sample cheeses to test traits like origin and milk fat content during an FFA Career Development Event at Groton Area High School on April 5. Farm Forum photo by Elizabeth Varin
Faulkton High School senior Kaden Lee smells milk samples during an FFA Career Development Event at Groton Area High School on April 5. Farm Forum photo by Elizabeth Varin
Students sample cheeses during an FFA Career Development Event at Groton Area High School on April 5. Farm Forum photo by Elizabeth Varin