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Spell Encourages Ag Career Advocacy at Ag Science Summit
June 24, 2009
Erika Brandt,

ST. LOUIS - president, Eric Spell, joined top agriculture business leaders and faculty at the first National 4-H Ag Science Summit on June 10, 2009. 
The purpose of the event was to bring together the influencers from throughout all aspects of the agriculture industry – education, association and employers – to discuss how we as an industry can engage more young people into agriculture and improve agriculture literacy.
Spell provided content on a panel that was charged with exploring strategies to entice youth and spark passion for careers in agricultural sciences. Spell joined Dr. Fred Cholick, Dean of Agriculture at Kansas State University and Director of K-State Research and Extension; Dr. Bob Horton, Professor of Educational Design at The Ohio State University, and Sara Widener, a University of Missouri student actively involved with 4-H. 
Spell shared feedback on the challenges he sees when working with young people exploring career opportunities and their perceptions of agriculture.
“We need to change the perception and what we are calling our positions to make them more appealing to the younger generation,” Spell said. “Custom applicators and grain originators don’t have an exciting feel nor are they very descriptive of the duties.”
He also shared some general statistics including the fact that agriculture is seeing an increasing number of job opportunities despite the economic situation. The Web site experienced growth from 2007 to 2008 in the food, crop protection, nutrition, biotechnology, environmental science and many other industry sectors.
A reoccurring theme among all of the presenters at the Summit was the need to become a positive spokesperson for the industry. Many of the participants said that Ag professionals don’t do an adequate job of sharing the positives aspects of the industry, but the general public hears the negatives via the main stream media.
Spell suggested the following actions for employers to truly become an activist for job opportunities in agriculture: provide internship opportunities; offer job shadowing days; appeal to the target audience through technology; become active in the community and talk about the positives; and get into classrooms!
While at the Summit, Spell participated in a live interview on AgriTalk, who was broadcasting live from the event. To hear Spell’s interview – click here.
For further information, contact at For further information about 4-H and the Ag Science Summit visit their website at

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