Generation Y is unlike any other generation. Our upbringings have been filled with immense amounts of technology: iPods, internet and cell phones. As a result, our minds move at an incredible pace.
The progress and changes found in agriculture also move at an incredible rate. With global population expected to reach nine billion by 2050, such growth will require that agriculture’s foot remains firmly on the accelerator.
Generation Y craves progress and consistent advancement. Students do not stand idled; everything is interactive and “right now”. Knowing this, agricultural education needs to remain focused on engaging young people.
Today’s classrooms work to prepare students for a variety of careers on a sustainable budget. A challenge education faces is not that curriculums are too hard, but that they move too slowly. When the pace slows, students’ minds wander. Too many of these disengaged moments can result in their minds completely disengaging from the core subject at hand.
The curriculum and rigor in agricultural education is modeled after an ever-changing industry. Agriculture’s pace stimulates young minds. It creates passions in and outside of the classroom. This is not the case everywhere. Most high school students rush for the door as the bell rings in search of the motivation they are not finding it in the classroom.
Agriculture students crave meaningful work. They are developing passions within classroom walls and applying them in real-life situations. American citizens have a commitment to our country’s livelihood through supporting agriculture as an irreplaceable industry. Our food, clothing, shelter, and resources come from agriculture-based foundations. This means that our world needs to be “all-in” and contribute to fighting the challenges being faced by agriculture stakeholders.
Today’s nearly one million agricultural education students give us faith for the future. A big part of that is the National FFA Organization’s membership of over 540,379 members in every state, including the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Each FFA member receives a classroom and laboratory education, conducts an agriculture-based project called a Supervised Agricultural Experience program, and applies what they’ve learned in real-life situations through their FFA membership. Agricultural education offers an intra-curricular learning process that students undergo. The 110 percent in output these youth commit to their agriculture-based work is the exact percentage of effort it will take to meet our world’s needs.
Whether from urban upbringings or country childhoods, Generation Y’s students are devoting their minds and souls to agriculture. Our one million agriculture students who crave progress will be challenged with figuring out how our world will do more with less. We are inspired by challenges that require us to think fast, multitask, and problem solve with our technological resources.
These trends have inspired the National FFA Organization’s theme for the coming year, “Grow”. Grow embodies the appreciation of our agrarian roots and the future of progressive agriculture. This theme lives out the goals of the National FFA Organization and our industry as a whole. Growth is a challenge; one that our young people are ready to tackle.
Less than 2% of our population is directly tied to American agriculture. The fulfillment of our challenges will come from utilizing the resources we are given. We fully embrace our land masses, science, and technology in the hopes to stay progressive. One resource that has not been fully tapped into – progressive, fast minds! Generation Y has only one plea for agriculture: engage us, utilize us, involve us, and CHALLENGE us!
National FFA Central Region Vice President