Johnny Morgan | 4/25/2019 8:18:54 PM
(04/25/19) ST. GABRIEL, La. — South Louisiana students got a lesson in what their future jobs could be during an agriculture career day on April 23 at the LSU AgCenter Sugar Research Station in St. Gabriel.
The students from eight parishes across south Louisiana heard from LSU AgCenter and agriculture industry professionals about four areas in agriculture that have an abundance of jobs that must be filled.
Renee Castro, AgCenter 4-H coordinator for southeast Louisiana, said the purpose of the event is to educate the youth about the many opportunities that are available to them in agriculture-related jobs.
“We’re trying to show them what’s out there,” she said. “Many of them don’t realize that there are jobs in the industry ranging from engineers to 4-H agents.”
The agriculture industry has something for everyone, said Kurt Guidry, director of the LSU AgCenter Southwest Region.
“There are a lot of opportunities in addition to just working on the farm,” he said. “There are jobs in research and development, marketing and many other areas.”
During the event, the students were divided into four groups and rotated through four stations where they heard presentations about careers in agricultural engineering, renewable natural resources, agriculture and extension education, and the environmental and coastal industry.
At the renewable natural resources station, AgCenter gardening specialist Kiki Fontenot discussed the many career options in the horticulture industry.
“In the horticulture industry, you can work in areas ranging from lawn care to landscape design,” she said.
At the agriculture engineering stop, AgCenter engineer Randy Price talked about the different engineering-related jobs in agriculture, including the use of drones to monitor crops. Students also got to see a drone in action.
Price and Jimmy Flanagan, AgCenter agent in St. Mary Parish, demonstrated one of the drones.
At that stop, the students also heard from Billy Lawson, a farm machinery dealer, who discussed how his career began as an agriculture engineering student at LSU and how that degree has taken him around the world in the agriculture industry.
Other sessions featured information on careers for students who enter environmental and coastal majors. Catherine Fox and Corinne Bird presented information on the types of careers available in those industries.
Christina Zito-Hebert, AgCenter college and career readiness specialist, along with Cade LeJeune, FFA executive secretary, discussed the careers available to those who pursue the agriculture and extension education major at LSU or similar programs at other universities.
“Whether you decide to be an ag teacher or a 4-H agent, in this major you’ll learn about all areas of agriculture,” LeJeune said.
Jim Simon, general manager of the American Sugar Cane League, discussed the different opportunities available to males and females in the industry.
“It’s great to see so many young ladies in agriculture now,” Simon said. “There are a number of daughters who are returning to the farm to help their dad’s in all areas of the operation, from running the office, helping with the drone activities, helping with human resources, driving tractors and using GPS technology.”
Lanette Hebert, AgCenter 4-H coordinator for southwest Louisiana, said the event gives the students a chance to see that agriculture is more than farming.
Members from the LSU College of Agriculture recruitment team were also on hand to discuss the variety of majors in the college and gave an overview of the scholarship opportunities.
Agriculture career days are held in several areas in the state, but this is the first time it’s been held in southeast Louisiana.
AgCenter engineer Randy Price shows students some of the ways drones are being used in crop scouting to determine fertilizer and chemical needs. The students came from eight parishes in south Louisiana to learn about the many career opportunities in agriculture at an agriculture career day held at the LSU AgCenter Sugar Research Station in St. Gabriel on April 23. Photo by Johnny Morgan/LSU AgCenter
Students try their hand at planting seeds during the renewable natural resources stop during an agriculture career day held at the LSU AgCenter Sugar Research Station in St. Gabriel on April 23. The students came from eight parishes in south Louisiana to learn about the many career opportunities in agriculture. Photo by Johnny Morgan/LSU AgCenter
Students look for macroinvertebrates at the coastal and environmental stop at an agriculture career day at the LSU AgCenter Sugar Research Station in St. Gabriel on April 23. The students came from eight parishes in south Louisiana to learn about the many career opportunities in agriculture. Photo by Johnny Morgan/LSU AgCenter