By: Nicole Schrock, Miss Rodeo Oregon
Growing up, agriculture and farming had a huge influence on me. Farming was a family affair. Both my parents came from farming families, so that lifestyle was the only one I knew. Being the daughter of farmers taught me to have a lot of respect for the land and our way of life. As I grew older, I had no desire to leave that way of life, and I chose to pursue a higher education in a field that would keep me close to the agriculture lifestyle that I had grown up loving.
During my travels as Miss Rodeo Oregon, one of the organizations I worked with was my local Oregon Women for Agriculture chapter. I have so much respect for these women, not only because of their involvement on their own farms, but for their passion for agriculture and their willingness to take extra time out of their schedules to promote that way of life to the public. They support other women in agriculture through fundraisers and scholarships for youth, and they work to educate through public events such as fairs and ag day celebrations. Women for Ag and Miss Rodeo Oregon walked parallel paths and so it was an honor and pleasure when I got to work side by side with them — working toward a common goal of promoting agriculture in our area.
Another thing that I noticed in my travels as Miss Rodeo Oregon is the common misconception among the general public that farming and ranching are all-male vocations. Growing up on a farm, I know firsthand that farming is not just for men and boys. In our house, everyone had a role to play. Whether it was in the office or the field, everyone contributed to the success of the harvest — man or woman, adult or child, we all helped out.
As a woman in agriculture, I think the most challenging obstacle to overcome is stereotyping from outside people. Because agriculture is generally viewed as a male-dominated industry, I’ve found that women often have to work harder than their male counterparts to prove their worth and knowledge in the industry. But women are slowly making their presence known, and I look forward to a future where women and men are recognized equally as they work toward promoting and making innovative leaps in techniques, practices and technology for the industry.
I love being a woman in agriculture… getting to work outside and admire nature’s beauty while giving back to my community. On my family’s farm, summer is the busiest time of year — the same time that rodeo season hits full swing in the Northwest. So, like clockwork every year, I find myself dividing my time between the two loves of my life… and I wouldn’t have it any other way! Whether I am driving my Massey Ferguson tractor in the fields or galloping my horse in the rodeo arena — you can bet I’ll have a smile on my face!
Massey Ferguson, a worldwide brand of AGCO (NYSE: AGCO) is pleased to announce the full partnership of the European Council of Young Farmers at its Vision of the Future event in Beauvais, France, 19-29 August 2014.
The farm machinery manufacturer is already a key sponsor of CEJA, which represents around two million European young farmers, and is working closely with the group in support of a range of projects at international, regional and local level.
Joining CEJA President, Matteo Bartolini in speaking at Vision of the Future were CEJA Vice-Presidents, Paola del Castillo, Matthias Daun, Alan Jagoe, and Laurent Poirier who made presentations in their native languages to the variety of international audiences attending over the ten days of the event.
“Vision of the Future is a wonderful opportunity for CEJA to meet farmers and promote a greater understanding of our work in Europe,” said Matteo Bartolini. “We are dedicated to the future of farming and the role of young people in its development. This event is a melting pot of new and innovative ideas, something which we relish as an organisation.”
Commenting, Campbell Scott, Massey Ferguson Director Sales Engineering and Brand Development said: “We are delighted that CEJA is partnering us at our showcase event. The young generation is the engine of innovation and fully comprehends the value of change. This is the inspiration behind MF’s partnership with CEJA – a relationship we hope to consolidate further into the future.”
In his keynote speech on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), Matteo Bartolini said: “The reformed CAP 2014-2020 promises to be ‘fairer’, ‘greener’ and ‘younger’, and, for the first time in the history of the CAP, we had the introduction of a mandatory measure for all Member States targeted only at young farmers under the direct payments Pillar,” he remarked.
“But our job is not done! We need to continue to find ways to assist young people to progress in agriculture. Young farmer numbers are still very low despite their increased productivity in comparison to older counterparts. Only 7.5% of European farmers are under the age of 35, and one third are over 65! We need to help young farmers to overcome the barriers of access to land, capital and credit and give wings to the ambitions of our young European entrepreneurs.”
“Generational renewal has to be at the heart of public policies, as this is the only way to ensure sustainable food production and respond to increasing food demand in the future,” said Matteo. “With its work, CEJA makes sure that the voice of young farmers is heard by all Brussels-based policy-makers and that young farmers are at the centre of discussions on future farming policy developments.”
CEJA co-ordinates seminars, conferences, public debates and written reports, and directs the concerns of young farmers towards the European institutions.
A regular column from CEJA is published every month on the Massey Ferguson web site: www.masseyferguson.com
“The cure to most of our problems in agriculture could be sitting right in front of us,” says Jay Middleton. It’s a heavy thought, and one of the many reasons the agronomy senior at Murray State University (MSU) believes it’s important to point people toward an ag education.
Apparently, plenty of young people have followed that direction. MSU’s Hutson School of Agriculture, like so many North American ag schools, appears ready to burst at the seams. In a reversal from just a decade ago, agriculture is “in” and its future bright. Enrollment in colleges of agriculture in both the U.S. and Canada has experienced healthy upswings. Individual institutions, including MSU, are reporting record numbers.
Most of it boils down to “jobs, jobs, jobs,” says MSU Hutson School of Agriculture dean Dr. Tony Brannon. “There are lots of expanded job opportunities in fields relatively new to agriculture, such as biotechnology, veterinary technology and precision agriculture.” Coupled with a retiring workforce and an expanding market that includes positions for non-rural youth, Brannon believes this created “the perfect storm leading to increased enrollment in many sectors of agriculture.”
Because they offer a glimpse at agriculture’s future, we sat down with Middleton and a group of his ag school classmates to better understand what motivates, concerns and appeals to them about their chosen academic discipline and the profession for which they’re preparing.
Technology, a yearning to learn more, leadership, a desire to feed the world and much more is discussed in this FarmLife special report. What these young people have to say tells us the future is in good hands and that cure Middleton mentions could be just around the corner.
There is much more from current ag students as part of the special report from FarmLife, the Massey Ferguson customer magazine. Read more from them here, and browse the full package including video and infographics.
In this month’s regular column from CEJA (European Council of Young Farmers), President, Matteo Bartolini explains what the EU is doing to support farmers following the import ban by Russia on EU food products.
MB: On 6 August 2014, the Kremlin published a decree announcing a Russian embargo on a number of agricultural imports in response to EU punitive sanctions over Russia’s actions in Ukraine. American, Norwegian, Canadian and Australian imports are faced with the same fate. Russia is the largest importer of EU agricultural produce with just under 10% of EU agri imports destined for the country. These imports were worth around €11 billion last year, half of which has now been banned by the Russians. The ban, which has been set for a year, will hit individual European farmers in particular, especially those who rely on export markets and who grow a small variety of produce. The ban will also hit Russian consumers with price hikes for certain products. The European Commission has been quick to try to support EU farmers with emergency measures. However, it is clear that funds available are simply not enough.
MF: What do these emergency measures include?
MB: The first measures outlined were to assist peach and nectarine producers and consisted of decreasing the volumes of fruit available on the market in an attempt to avoid plummeting prices.Extra funds are also being provided for promotion. Peach growers have been hit particularly hard. Indeed, such measures were already under discussion before the announcement of the Russian ban. The weather this year has contributed to an increase in supply but also a rapid advancement in maturity. This led to a much greater intensity of supply at the start of the season rather than a more even spread over the following weeks. Cooler and more humid conditions in June and July also slowed down consumption during this time. The budget for these measures is €29.7 million for withdrawals and €3 million for promotion, allocated to Italy, Spain, Greece and France on the basis of annual production.
For the full article, please click here
If you would like to get in touch with Mr. Bartolini or CEJA, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To some, it might seem odd that the Future Farmers of America (FFA) would recognize and reward musical talent. After all, the 85-year-old organization’s stated mission is to “prepare future generations for the challenges of feeding a growing population.”
Yet the organization’s Career Development Events program does spotlight the musical endeavors of its members, as well as other pursuits. Besides awards for swine and goat production, dairy evaluation and tractor driving, the National FFA Organization honors members who excel at such activities as public speaking and crime prevention.
“Everybody stereotypes ag, thinking it’s just cows and plows. If you look at the industry, there are more jobs in the world not directly producing food but manufacturing it, hauling it or marketing,” says Marty Myers, a high school FFA sponsor. “Ag teaches leadership, not just farming and plowing. It tries to get them ready for real life.”
Real life includes finding a balance, and music has always been a part of many farmers’ recreational time. That’s why the FFA at the national and state level holds competitions to help develop and showcase talent and leadership skills.
In 2014, the National FFA Organization is offering $2.1 million in scholarships. AGCO is part of this effort. During the 2013-2014 FFA scholarship year, AGCO and nearly 50 local Challenger®, Massey Ferguson® and Gleaner® dealers will distribute a total of 100 scholarships in the amount of $1,000 each.