Ag Career Day draws about 500 students with an interest in agriculture
Published:  February 15, 2017

Most came to learn, some came to display and at least one came to hire at the 3rd Annual Agriculture Career Fair held Friday at the Museum of Ventura County Agriculture Museum.

Known affectionately as “The Ag”, the museum was filled to capacity on February 10 with students that came in waves to view displays, ask questions, take information and eat pizza.

Agricultural Commissioner Henry Gonzales and Michael Etchart, Industry Liaison for Agriculture & Natural Resources, VC Innovates from the Ventura County Office of Education who coordinated the event, as well as Museum of Ventura County Director of Education & Outreach Megan Gately were also on hand.

Over 500 middle and high-school students interested in careers in the agricultural sector, who are enrolled in agriculture-specific curriculum such as Santa Paula High School’s Ag Academy and programs such as Future Farmers of America attended. Isbell Middle School students also took part in the fair.

This annual event, according to The Ag, is designed to put students “in front of” the leading ag businesses in the region to find out about careers, job opportunities, and training/education required for their companies.  

These “real world” interactions with industry leaders are meant to encourage agricultural study as well as providing a more realistic expectation of the skills and job titles in their organizations.

And the importance of volunteerism: Food Share Community Outreach Coordinator Anne Thille was on hand urging students to consider volunteering for the organization that feeds thousands throughout Ventura County.  

“It’s important for students to volunteer for many reasons,” other than altruism said Thille, including for high school community service credits and college applications where volunteerism is viewed favorably.

Charles Law of Progressive Land Management, Inc., said farming has changed drastically with the introduction of high technology.

“I’m pushing tech in groves,” a subject that teenagers — who have a sixth sense for — respond to.

“We are literally able to turn on and off,” field equipment from smart phones and read data from sensors that measure moisture, sap flows and monitor water flow that might need boosting or cutting back. 

Law said high tech makes one of man’s most ancient activities, growing food, easier and smarter and an attractive subject to high tech teens.

Gabby Chavez, a Santa Paula High School graduate, was at the Future Farmers of America table where she was handing out information on the program. 

Wearing her FFA jacket, Chavez said she had spoken to about 30 students so far, including “The ones from middle school who said they would be interested,” in the program when they enter high school.

Chavez now is a Ventura Community College student and said when she gets her Associate of Arts degree she will attend Fresno State University where she will major in agriculture.

“I’m here looking for a senior worker,” said rancher Logan Hardison, but not of the high school kind.

Rather, he was looking for a ranch manager/worker for a citrus and avocado operation in Redlands, a job that “comes with a big house and everything…”

Although he had visited The Ag because he thought the career fair was to match workers with employers, Hardison was enjoying the displays and participants.

“I did speak to the FFA,” because they could have contacts with recent graduates perhaps looking for farm work.

Learning at another exhibit that feed given to beneficial insects can make them more effective against “bad bugs” Hardison said it just shows that “There are plenty of diversified jobs in agriculture. You don’t think you would find an ag insect nutritionist job!”  

Nayhb Oseguera, a SPHS senior and FFA member, was enjoying some pizza after visiting the Cal Poly table.

“I already did apply to Cal Poly,” as well as numerous other universities, where Oseguera said he plans to study the relatively new field of bioengineering.

Displays at the event also included Mission Produce, Limoneira, Farm Credit West, Food Forward, San Miguel Produce, Rincon-Vitova, AG RX, Bolthouse Farms, US Fish & Wildlife, SEE-AG, Monsanto, CWA, Totally Local VC, the USDA and Corona Seeds.

Aside from the information and contacts they got from exhibitors, students were given handouts about resume writing, cover letters and interviewing.




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