“The Agriculture Experience” is a grass-roots project designed to bring together the school, community members, organizations and volunteers to keep our schools and community viable and in place. To accomplish our goals, we are focused on utilizing our most precious resource production agriculture. With more than 90% of the occupations and economy from Longton and Elk county coming from production agriculture, who better to provide quality learning experiences for young people interested in innovative careers in agriculture.
We have networked with school officials, community leaders and young entrepreneurs in the area and engaging local leadership to develop plans for “The Agriculture Experience” project. As we look to the future for the community and local area we plan to engage and energize not only youth from our community but youth from urban settings in the area to understand and become educated entrepreneurs and/or enter careers in agriculture.
Plans are to educate young people to the opportunities available in agriculture and provide a positive experience in culture, character and a way of life where they can live, work and raise a family. Through encouragement and active engagement their experiences will lead them to see what is available in rural America and a unique culture they may have never experienced. Without “The Agriculture Experience” these students may never understand or experience the options rural life can offer them and their future families.
Statistics show the world is currently facing problems meeting the nutritional need for the population with increased challenges for the future. The world population is growing by an average of 83 million people per year and is expected to reach nearly 10 billion by the year 2050. Knowing the challenges agriculture leaders face in providing food, fiber and natural resources for the world we are committed to using our knowledge and resources to contribute in solving the problem.
We anticipate this program will become a popular model for other rural communities to follow. It is crucial to improve and sustain the qualities of life in rural communities as they remain critical to Kansas and Americas economy, culture and character.
In the past, there has been a migration of those growing up in rural America moving to more urban settings to continue their education. Due to increased opportunities in modern housing, shopping, entertainment and employment a very high percentage never returned home. With the change in times, the economy, technology, questionable safety and cost of living in Urban areas it is time for us to boast the benefits of life in rural America. Marketing strategies and making young people aware of the benefits of living in a safe, affordable culture that has so much to offer them and their families for the future. With today’s technology, they have access to unlimited information, e-business capabilities working for large companies in remote locations and affordable entrepreneurial start up options. All this while allowing their children to attend safe schools and experience a wholesome educational, outdoor activities and nature.
Additional benefits to this program would be the potential for recruitment and retention of quality teachers. With an increase in families moving to the area there would be a possibility of student numbers growing and potential teaching positions. With the need for a strong agricultural education program in the community to engage this program, empowered teachers see the value and benefits in the good work they are doing to grow rural America, the agriculture economy and students.
It is up to us to positively utilize our resources to educate and encourage those in urban areas to experience the roots they or past generations may have experienced with pleasure in the past.