Our country and world depends on experts in agriculture to ensure we can maintain a sufficient food supply while facing an array of challenges like population growth, demand for resources and changes in climate and weather.

Besides the farmers and people who harvest the food we need, it’s critical that there are food and soil scientists, veterinarians, teachers, innovators, public officials and others prepared to lead us in meeting those challenges head on.

Because of that reality, it’s encouraging to see FFA chapters in the Tri-City area going strong, especially the one at Capac High School.

With the arrival of two bred sows last week, the school’s FFA program is now home to four different types of livestock—some of which will be available to members for showing at county fairs. Future repairs to the greenhouse mean that students will soon be growing flowers, produce or other plants year-round. They are truly embracing a portion of the FFA motto, “Learning to Do, Doing to Learn.” All of these experiences mean students have a chance to explore and consider career paths in an important and in-demand industry thanks to diverse ag science programming.

This growth has been made possible by an enthusiastic teacher/advisor, supportive school district leaders and community members. As St. Clair County’s only remaining FFA Chapter, it’s important that this organization remain strong for the sake of the local ag economy.

Beyond Capac and St. Clair County, the job prospects for ag-related careers is relatively strong. A 2019 report by the United States Department of Agriculture showed that approximately 10 percent of all U.S. employment is related to food and its associated industries. Purdue University projects that employment opportunities for new college graduates with an interest in food, agriculture and renewable natural resources and the environment will remain strong over the next five years with the most openings in management and business and science and engineering.

The benefits of hands-on learning are well-known and local students are fortunate to have opportunities within their schools and at technical and vocational institutions too including Lapeer County’s Ed Tech Center which is home to Lapeer County’s highly successful and popular FFA program.

We trust that these and similar investments in our youth’s education will have far-reaching benefits for our local communities, our country and the world.