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Pennsylvania could need more agricultural education

Could be up to 60,000 jobs available in the next decade

By Diego Flammini,

One of the best ways to ensure that farmers of the future have the necessary tools to succeed is to implement farming and agriculture early on in their education.

Agriculture education

“Over the next 10 years, there will be more than 60,000 job openings in the agriculture and food-related sectors,” said Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “This means we’re going to have more agricultural jobs than people to fill them. We have to begin to address this now and that means helping students see the potential of the agriculture industry.”

Secretary Redding addressed about 70 teachers during the PULSE (Partnership to Understand and Lead STEM Education) kick-off in Lancaster.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has proposed about $15 million in the 2015-2016 budget be set aside for Career and Technical Education (CTE) Innovation grants - monies that Secretary Redding says can teach students about more than just agriculture.

“We have to help students see the possibilities in the agriculture industry,” he said. “You see that in teaching about agriculture, we’re teaching about life.”

Agricultural education has been part of public education since 1917 when the U.S. Congress passed the Smith-Hughes Act. The legislation promoted agricultural education for people “who have entered upon or who are preparing to enter upon the work of the farm.”

Currently, more than 800,000 students across the United States between age 7 to adulthood take part in agricultural education in some capacity.

Join the conversation and tell us your thoughts about agricultural education. What kinds of things should students be learning to prepare them for a career in agriculture?

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