(12/13/19) Crowley, La. — Students from nine parishes attended the Southwest Regional Agricultural Career Day on Dec. 11 to learn about the vast range of career choices in agriculture.
Kurt Guidry, director of the LSU AgCenter Southwest Region, told the 81 students from grades eight through 12 that agriculture is more than growing a crop or raising animals. Agriculture in Louisiana is an $11 billion industry that requires thousands of people to do the needed work.
“Agriculture careers are at the heart of solving most of the problems of our world,” said Hannah Devall, 4-H agent in St. Martin Parish. It could even involve careers in graphic design and marketing.
AgCenter food scientist Joan King told the students that her field involves numerous areas of study, including engineering, physical science and biology. “There’s always a need for food scientists,” she said.
The field of food science usually has more job openings than applicants. One LSU graduate working in quality control for four years is now making more than $100,000 a year, she said.
Hilton Waits, LSU AgCenter 4-H agent in Vermilion Parish, said agricultural careers go beyond the farm. “There are lots of opportunities you can go into. You can find careers where you’re not working on a farm or a ranch every day,” he said.
Henry Hebert, manager of recruitment for the LSU College of Agriculture, told the students about the varied curriculum in the college that includes environmental science, wildlife management and textiles and apparel.
Jeremy Hebert, AgCenter agent in Acadia Parish, said his work is varied. “There’s no day with an extension agent’s job that’s ever the same,” he said.
AgCenter rice specialist Dustin Harrell talked about his research work to help farmers, and students also heard about job opportunities in conservation with the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Brandt Fontenot said he enjoyed learning how drones are being used in agriculture. The eighth grader from Cameron Parish said he has chosen an agriculture career and plans to attend either LSU or McNeese State University. “I’m going to be a software engineer for John Deere,” he said.
Jayce Trahan, a senior from Vinton, said she plans to start college at McNeese and transfer to LSU to prepare for vet school there. She wants to be a large-animal veterinarian.
Kassidy Fontenot, a junior from Iota, said she wants to go to LSU. “I think I’m going to do something with animal science,” she said.
Brett King, a tenth grader from Cameron Parish, said he was interested to learn about the different ways drones are being used in agriculture. He said he lives on a ranch and wants to become a veterinarian. “Since the day I hit the ground, I’ve had a cow around me,” he said.
Chacelyn Peltier, an eighth grader from New Iberia, said she is active in 4-H showing hogs and chickens, and she benefitted from the career day. “I’ve learned about all the options in animal science,” she said.
Laura Trahan, a senior from Cameron Parish, said she’s planning to become a dentist, but she enjoyed the day. “Food and nutrition are kind of interesting,” she said.
AgCenter 4-H regional coordinator Lanette Hebert said the goal of the career day is to increase interest in agricultural careers and sustain the agricultural industry with an educated and well-skilled workforce.
LSU AgCenter agricultural engineer Randy Price tells students about the use of drones in agriculture during the AgCenter Southwest Regional Agricultural Career Day on Dec. 11. Photo by Bruce Schultz/LSU AgCenter
LSU AgCenter rice specialist Dustin Harrell tells students about his research work during the AgCenter Southwest Regional Agricultural Career Day on Dec. 11. Photo by Bruce Schultz/LSU AgCenter
Jeremy Hebert tells students about his work as the LSU AgCenter agent in Acadia Parish during the AgCenter Southwest Regional Agricultural Career Day on Dec. 11. Photo by Bruce Schultz/LSU AgCenter