FYI: A Great Opportunity for Youth in Ag

The opportunities for children and teenagers in Florida to learn about the interesting, important, and wonderful world of agriculture are plentiful.  Programs such as FFA in the schools and 4H provide many of those opportunities in a structured format, exposing young people to the ways agriculture affects us all, teaching them the work and ways of farming and livestock production, and allowing them to get real-world experience in the field — both of crops and industry.

Another grand opportunity for a hands-on education in agriculture is a special concentrated program offered by the University of Florida’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.  It’s an FYI, the Florida Youth Institute, a one-week program for students entering grades 11 and 12. Two FYI sessions are set this year, one for July 15-20 and the other for July 22-27, and attendees will be housed on the UF campus in Gainesville for each of them.

Co-sponsored by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, FYI is an application-based program with an essay requirement and cost of $350 per student.  Applicants don’t have to be involved in FFA in high school or any other academic concentration, but they should be “motivated, mature students who are dedicated to the future of agriculture and the related sciences.”

According to the program description, “FYI students will learn about and discuss issues pertaining to Florida agriculture, life sciences, and natural resources.  Students will gain an appreciation for the range of college majors and career opportunities available in these areas.”

Among other activities, FYI students will:

Participate in a variety of engaging lessons and demonstrations.

-Experience indoor and outdoor laboratories and campus facilities.

-Engage with faculty, staff, and current CALS students.

-Meet with UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Dean Dr. Elaine Turner and Florida Commissioner of Agriculture           Adam Putnam.

-Examine issues in agriculture, life science, and natural resources.

-Reflect on worldwide challenges such as food security (the topic for the required essay).

FYI enrollment is limited, so now is the time to apply.  For complete application requirements, hop online and visit

This column is sponsored by Labor Solutions

BIO: Baxter Troutman is the founder and chief executive officer of Labor Solutions, a staffing company with offices in Bartow, Winter Haven, Lake Wales, and Arcadia. He also currently serves as president of the Florida AgriTourism Association board of directors. You can visit his Dark Hammock Legacy Ranch online at A cattle rancher and citrus grower who served in the Florida House of Representatives, Troutman understands the challenges and concerns of today’s farmer.

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