COLUMBUS — Two projects to attract middle and high school students to careers in agriculture have been announced by the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation.
One project entails Central State University agriculture students’ introducing ag careers to middle schoolers. In the second, the Ohio FFA Foundation will develop curriculum to recruit high schoolers into ag-related careers.
The Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation awarded $85,000 in grants for the two projects. They are part of the foundation’s new Youth Pathways to Careers in Agriculture program, funded by foundation’s Fisher Fund for Lifelong Learning. The Fisher Fund is named after former Ohio Farm Bureau Executive Vice President Jack Fisher.
Farm Bureaus in Clinton, Fayette, Greene and Warren counties will partner with Central State University to pilot the Agricultural Career Exploration project, in which CSU students will visit middle schools and give hands-on lessons that explore agricultural career options. A task force composed of secondary teachers, guidance counselors, curriculum coordinators, university faculty, Ohio Farm Bureau members and ag-related employers will design the curriculum. The pilot project will be in at least 15 school districts and reach at least 1,000 students. The goal is to further expand the program across the state.
The Ohio FFA Foundation and the Ohio Department of Education are partners on the second project, Ohio FFA’s Career Pathways for Gen Z. The program’s goal is for the Ohio FFA Foundation to recruit students from Gen Z (those born between 1995 and 2010) for careers in food, agriculture and environmental sciences. The project will have two components. One is the development of high-quality, engaging curriculum to be used for workshops with Gen Z students statewide. The second will have students create their own projects with the help of educators. Once fully developed, the curriculum will be available on a website for educators and students to access.