Ours is an industry that is consistently asked to deliver more with less. More product, from less ground, and with fewer workers to staff it. And at the same time, we’re also asked to meet higher standards, in order to appeal to wider clientele.
Luckily, we aren’t in it alone. Previously, we spoke of different programs that youth who have an interest in agriculture can participate in to engage with the community. Now we turn the spotlight to another program that is working to develop the upcoming youth into the future of agricultural advocates.
The Florida Youth Institute is an initiative through the University of Florida’s Center for Precollegiate Education and Training (UF-CPET) in which upcoming high school juniors and seniors spend a week at the university, meeting faculty and students while exploring the degree programs in life sciences, biological engineering, natural resources and Florida agriculture. The Institute attendees also have the opportunity to meet with representatives from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, as well as an invitation to submit an essay for The World Food Prize competition. Winners may receive a scholarship up to $10,000 to attend University of Florida’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, as well as the opportunity to attend the Global Youth Institute.
What does this mean for those of us who’ve been in ag for a while now? Aside from a great option to get your children (or nieces, nephews, or grandchildren) interested in agriculture, this should inspire hope. Hope that a new generation of advocates for agriculture is coming up behind us, brimming with potential, and fresh ideas.
For those youth who are interested in applying for the 2020 Florida Youth Institute, the application window closes February 28th, so your time is running short. The program costs $350 for the week, but those interested are invited to apply regardless of their ability to pay.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit cpet.ufl.edu
BIO: Baxter Troutman is the founder and chief executive officer of Labor Solutions, a staffing company with offices in Bartow, Winter Haven, Lake Wales, Arcadia, and Plant City. You also can visit his Dark Hammock Legacy Ranch online at www.DH-LR.com. A cattle rancher and citrus grower who served in the Florida House of Representatives, Troutman understands the challenges and concerns of today’s farmer.