Preparing the next generation of Ag experts -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Preparing the next generation of Ag experts

June 3, 2007

Tifton - - It isn't always the first course of study that comes to mind for most students entering college, but agriculture is the link to South Georgia's economy. Farming and agriculture make up a huge part of our area's industry.

In fact, the state's Farm Service Agency has announced its plans to move to Tifton soon. State leaders want more students to consider making agriculture a career choice.

While most students walk to class, Robin Sylvester rides her horse.

"I've always been into animals and I want to do some genetics and breeding horses so I figure this is a good way to do it," she says.

She moved from Florida and enrolled at ABAC to experience South Georgia's rich agricultural history and learn what she needs to get into business.

"With the labs in our animal sciences classes, we do a lot of hands on activities and that's how I pick up most of the things I've learned."

Not all students in the state have this opportunity.

"More and more of our students are actually working to pay for their school so having time on weekends or taking all day trips is much more difficult than it used to be," says Professor Will Getz of Fort Valley State University.

He travels to this part of the state often, meeting with industry leaders and gaining resources for his students.

Since agriculture isn't always the first class many students race to sign up for, he wants them to know there are a number of opportunities in the field...and not just what comes to mind when you think of farming.

"Certainly opportunities in education as county agents or as vo-ag teachers and then the whole area of biotechnology, animal biotechnology is opening up and becoming more and more promising," he says. 

Even opportunities in regulation and setting guidelines for nutrition and food safety. For Sylvester, her college experience has been nothing but rewarding.

"We've done things like castration, dehorning, learning to vaccinate, just working with the cows," she says.

She feels equipped to take part in the vital field that keeps South Georgia pumping.

"Are you pretty confident about the future of this business?" we asked.

"I hope so, yeah. It's all I wanted to do so I don't know what else ill do without it," she says.

Come graduation time, chances are a job in agriculture will be waiting with her name on it. 

Many times after graduation, college students have a hard time finding a job in their field.

But on Georgia's Department of Agriculture web site there are several job opportunities posted ranging from $21,435 to $23,614.


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