NY FFA Students Tour Agriculture Colleges

While most students are typically awaiting the start of a brand new school year in August, high schoolers involved in FFA and 4H were taking part in a traveling conference over the course of 5 days across New York State. The inTENse conference takes high school students in grades 10 through 12 on the road and exposes them to agricultural college and career opportunities within New York. Students learn about college admissions and a variety of career options through hands-on experiences. The goal is that every participant will clearly understand that no matter what sort of career they envision for themselves they can do it in agriculture - and that we need them to do it in New York agriculture. This year, almost 60 students took the opportunity to tour SUNY Cobleskill, Paul Smith’s College, SUNY Morrisville, Cornell University, and Alfred State College, in hopes of finding a college and career that would best suit them.

The first day of InTENse was spent at SUNY Cobleskill. With 57,900 high- skilled jobs available in the food, agriculture, renewable resources and environmental fields in the United States, students were exposed to several of these career fields. As the tour progressed, students got hands on and made pickles as part of the culinary lab as well as groomed horses during the equine experience. During the next leg of the experience at Paul Smith’s College, students participated in timber sports, driving horses, and the rehabilitation of wildlife. While in the Adirondacks, we made a stop at the Wild Center to learn about internship opportunities that are available in this career field.
Once students left the Adirondacks, they headed to SUNY Morrisville to see the dairy incubator, equine rehabilitation center and the ag mechanics program. Students also learned about Collegiate FFA before joining Farm Credit East for a tour of Holmes Acres and Cazenovia Equipment. Once at Cornell University they were able to see the weed/crop gardens, get an in depth look at the lab of Ornithology, and explore the rumen of a fistulated cow. Following a day of tours, the students got to enjoy a meal at Coltivare. Here they learned about how the food that was used to prepare the meal was locally grown at TC3, a community college with agriculture and sustainability options. The last stop of the experience was spent touring the dairy farm and Vet Tech program at Alfred State. Students were able to use an endoscope and conduct a sonogram on a dog, prepare blood smears, perform wellness exams on calves, and observe the operation of a robotic milker before heading back home. By the end of the week, group leaders heard the students expressing their excitement about the colleges they had seen and the opportunities they couldn’t wait to take advantage of. In fact, many students began the application process to join the class of 2021 at desired universities such as Justin Rodda who said “I tried to start the application process yesterday, but it just started today and I’m going to have it filled out before I leave”. The future of agriculture is bright thanks to the incredible students enrolled in agriculture programs across New York. We would like to take this time to thank the colleges, agricultural businesses and our sponsors for giving this amazing opportunity to future generations of agriculturalists.

FFA makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth, and career successful through agriculture education. For more information regarding FFA please visit either www.nysffa.org or www.ffa.org.

Respectfully Submitted By,
Kimberly Doyle
NY FFA State Reporter, 2017-2018