MI Ag Ideas to Grow With conference offers youth sessions

Online opportunities for youth to learn about farm safety, apprenticeship and record keeping.

Youth watering a plant outside.

According to Michigan Farm Bureau, there are 54,400 agriculture-related job openings annually for individuals with four-year and higher education degrees and this does not account for agriculture related jobs in skilled trades. Michigan State University Extension invites youth ages 14 to 19 to learn more about the agriculture industry by participating in the 2022 MI Ag Ideas to Grow With conference, being held virtually, February 28 - March 31.

This unique virtual event combines past MSU Extension events such as Ag Action Day, Branch County Farmers Day, and Southwest Michigan Horticulture Days, which did not traditionally have youth-focused sessions. While youth are welcome to attend any and all of the sessions, there are also sessions designed specifically for youth during the week of March 14.

MI Ag Ideas to Grow With youth sessions will include:

  • Farm safety. The food and agriculture industry employ 22% of Michigan workers. Working in agriculture and around animals is rewarding; yet sometimes dangerous. According to the 2020 fact sheet from the National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety, “a child dies in an agriculture-related incident about every three days.” Most injuries and deaths involving youth happen around transportation, machinery, all-terrain vehicles or animals. Whether visiting or working in agriculture, learn to recognize common hazards and prevent accidents in and around farms.
  • Record keeping. Where did I put that information? Keeping accurate records are important whether one owns their own business, tracks personal finances, or is required to for their job. Learn how to keep records to make the most of time and efforts in many areas of life.
  • Apprenticeship 101. Learn about registered apprenticeships as a career option and expand awareness of occupations with high demand and high wages in Michigan related to agriculture and natural resources. Jobs and careers that may have registered apprenticeships include welders, plumbers, farriers, some animal care, and horticultural positions, as well as electricians and mechanics. Attend this session to learn more.

The three youth sessions will be offered in the morning, afternoon and evening. Morning and afternoon session will be held on Thursday, March 17, and evening sessions will be held on Monday, March 14, Wednesday, March 16, and Thursday, March 17. All session will be held using the Zoom platform.

Deb Barrett, MSU Extension senior educator stated, “This is our second year offering youth focused sessions for individuals age 14-19. Teaching young people about job and career opportunities and fostering workforce readiness skills continue to be important to future success.”

The cumulative month-long MI Ag Ideas to Grow With Conference encompasses many aspects of the agricultural industry and offers a full array of educational session for farmers and homeowners interested in food production or considering agricultural endeavors. While there is no cost to participate, attendees must register in order to receive the necessary Zoom links. Attendees are able to attend as many sessions as they would like and may also jump around between tracks. RUP and CCA credits will be offered for several of the sessions. More information can be found on the MI Ag Ideas to Grow With website.

MSU Extension and Michigan 4-H youth development help prepare young people for successful futures. As a result of career exploration and workforce preparation activities, thousands of Michigan youth are better equipped to make important decisions about their professional future, ready to contribute to the workforce, and able to take fiscal responsibility in their personal lives. For more information or resources on career exploration, workforce preparation, financial education or entrepreneurship, contact 4-HCareerPrep@msu.edu.

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