Fourteen New Jersey 4-H members attended the National Agri-Science Youth Summit in January at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland. The theme of the Summit was “Inspiring Agri-Science Solutions” and provided youth with an opportunity to learn about and develop an understanding of the critical role that agricultural science innovation—ranging from environmental science to current technologies used in agriculture—plays in addressing the world’s most pressing issues.
The New Jersey delegates attending the National 4-H Agri-Science Youth Summit included:
Essex County: Matthew Furlong III, Caroline Prentice, Shannon Sager, and Troi Slade
Hudson County: Kayleen DeMatos and Loriann De Sousa Rego
Mercer County: Francesca Fusco and Sarah Hoplock
Monmouth County: Olive Scaff
Morris County: Sierra Durham, Johanna Pipoli
Passaic County: Sophia Marion
Somerset County: Devon DeAngelis and Megan Norz
Today, many young people are generationally and geographically removed from farming and agriculture. Yet, it is vital that these young leaders and future decision makers understand the critical role agriculture plays in our society. Currently, it is estimated that there will be 54,400 annual job openings for those with agricultural college degrees. While the percentage of these opportunities in production agriculture (farming) has declined, 27% of these jobs will be in science and engineering and 47% will be in management and business. A shortfall of graduates for these science and business positions is projected, especially for the anticipated demand in animal and plant biotechnology. These emerging areas of agriculture are addressing some of the world’s most pressing issues related to food security, nutrition, energy, and sustainability.
During the summit, participants attended workshops; engaged in hands-on activities; listened to guest speakers; and interacted with agricultural researchers and advocates who helped them gain knowledge and skills in agri-science related to the production of food, feed, fuel, and fiber, and learned about career opportunities.
“The National Agri-Science Summit provided our 4-H members with an excellent opportunity to learn about the challenges facing agriculture, including global food security and sustainability, and how they can play a role in addressing these challenges today and in their future,” said Jeannette Rea Keywood, state 4-H agent, Department of 4-H Youth Development.
The 4-H Youth Development Program is part of Rutgers, New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station – Cooperative Extension. 4-H educational programs are offered to all youth, grades K-13(one year out of high school), on an age-appropriate basis, without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disability, atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait, marital status, domestic partnership status, military service, veteran status and any other category protected by law.
For more information about the New Jersey 4-H Program visit the website.