1,400 Seventh Graders on the Farm
On May 2-3, 2017, the Agriculture Committee of ABCD Corp. hosted its Second Annual Ag Career Days at the Kulp Farm in Martinsburg for all Blair County 7th Graders providing over 1,400 students the opportunity to learn about agriculture careers from industry experts.
Although agriculture is the number one industry of the Blair County economy, many of the younger members of the population are not familiar with the multitude of career opportunities available to them in these fields. On a national scale, as well as right here in Blair County, there is a shortfall of young people interested in studying agriculture and working towards lifelong careers in the industry. Demand for agricultural products continues to increase, but the upcoming workforce, especially those youths who live within the urban areas of the county, continues to dwindle. With more ag positions available than there are students willing to fill those positions, the situation is beginning to put strain on the industry as a whole. The central PA economy will not be able to take advantage of the opportunities that the agriculture industry provides if we do not address this critical issue.
The ABCD Corporation Agriculture Committee wanted to help address this issue and get young people in the area excited about farming. Therefore, the committee created the first annual Agriculture Career Day in May of 2016 on-site at the Kulp Family Dairy Farm located in Martinsburg, PA. This exciting event is open to all 7th grade students in each school district in Blair County. The Career Day focuses on a multitude of careers in the agriculture industry including dairy farming, veterinarian careers, engineering, accounting, lending, information and technology, genetics, insurance and many more. The inaugural event in 2016 was named a County Activities of Excellence program winner by the American Farm Bureau Federation. AFBF selected 24 winners nationally from 154 entries, and Blair County was the only winner from Pennsylvania (Altoona Mirror complete article).
By exposing students to firsthand accounts of careers in the agriculture industries, the committee hopes that the event can pique interest in agriculture and begin to lay the groundwork for students to pursue a career in the highlighted fields right here in Blair County, PA. We are grateful to all of the sponsors, volunteers and a special thank you to the Kulp Family for hosting the event and to Dave Hileman and to the entire Committee for their tireless efforts.
We are already planning for 2018 and if you have an interest in joining the planning efforts or providing monetary support please contact Rachel Prosser at ABCD Corp.