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Friday, November 22, 2013

The Importance of Future Agriculturalists

I was born on a family farm in a small community named Stanley, Kentucky.  It has been a blessing from God.  For, I believe that family farming is much more than just acres of pliable soil; it is a tradition.  To me, a family farm is like an age-old tree. Alive for many centuries, a tree will bear many fruits and it will pass those fruits on until some grow and become another tree. It is the same with family farming. Family farming continues throughout the generations and is passed on to new ones. Just as the tree holds all of the generations of the family in its roots in the land after the death in the family, the family name too will live on forever in the soil of its crops. 

It has become a recent concern of many agriculturalists all across the nation that the future of family farming is in a troubled state. It has always been a rising concern. This metaphor is a good reason why I believe family-farming operations are an essential part of the tomorrow of agriculture.  I am aware of the average age of the current U.S. farmer, which is 55, and do know that this number is not good for the future of agriculture, but I also realize that there are many strong farming operations out there today, with my family’s being one of them.

 I look around my own community and see family farming operations of 5000 acres or more and watch them continue to grow each year.  Farmers do not only drive a tractor to plant and harvest a bountiful crop to feed millions in the world. They also farm because it is a love they have, and that love is spread throughout future generations of the family.  In the 1800’s, children were expected to carry on the family farm in hopes to be as successful as their parents, and I believe this practice still happens in this day and age.  As it is quite evident, traditions and practices are different than those of the 1800’s.  College is a common course of action today and therefore many more careers are available to the public, which eventually led to the decrease of family farming operations.  Although there are many more career paths to be chosen from, there are many young adults, along with myself, choosing a career path in agriculture.

The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment (CAFE) has over 2500 students working towards making the tomorrow of agriculture more efficient.  The University of Kentucky ‘s land grant institution gives College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment students many opportunities, such as hands on experience on university research farms, research labs, and a high quality education that is incomparable to any other.  It is important to have land grant institutions such as the University of Kentucky across the nation, because without the prestigious research and education conducted by these schools, agriculture would not continue to strive and improve like it continues to do so today.

Agriculture is a key part of everyone’s day-to-day life. No person can live without the essentials that agriculture provides. With UK students contributing to the production of these essentials, agriculture can continue to flourish.  The UK CAFE recognizes that the average age of the American farmer continues to increase, therefore they are making strides to ensure this trend does not continue. As agriculture becomes more necessary, due to the increasing demands because of rising populations, the University of Kentucky is developing research and education to ensure that there are always future agriculturalists to continue America’s finest tradition and necessity.

In conclusion, from only being at the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment for a little over a year, I have already come to realize how influential my agriculture education will be when I have a career in the agricultural industry and carry on my own family farm. With that being said, I could not be happier with the decision I made two years ago to come to the University of Kentucky. I would not be the person I am today without the education I have received and the people that I have met. I know myself, along with many others at the University of Kentucky, are working to become future agriculturalists in order to make the tomorrow of agriculture the best it has ever been. 

Lauren is a sophomore from Owensboro, Kentucky.  She is a Horticulture, Plant & Soil Science major, specializing in Agronomy.


  1. This couldn't have been said any better!

  2. My favorite line is "No person can live without the essentials that agriculture provides". Such a true and important statement that every person needs to realize. Excellent article, Lauren!