The first ever Agriculture Career Day was held at the State Fair today to get youth interested in the other 99 percent of jobs they may have never heard of. State Agriculture Commissioner Richard Ball says actual jobs on the farm in New York are less than 1 percent of the total agriculture workforce.
“The point that we want to make is that the number of people working on a farm might not be a huge number but every farm job creates seven more jobs off the farm. That’s involved in the processing or the delivery to market, or the marketing itself, sales, cooking, and all the other things that are related to ag that we don’t traditionally think of as agriculture, as farming.”
The mechanical repair of high tech tractors, software programming and robotics are a few.
“I visited a farm a few weeks ago. They have the most robotic milkers of anywhere in North America. And the technology involved with maintaining a robotic milker, I mean it’s very sophisticated technology.”
He adds that new agricultural products are introduced daily, requiring more specialized experts.
“And understanding the effects of the nutrients: How our diets are affected by what we eat. How we keep that all safe. All the way from the farm to the marketplace.”
Ball credits colleges such as SUNY Morissville and Cornell University with training future talent in the industry. Integrated Solutions Specialist Eric Haas of Cazenovia Equipment is demonstrating drones that analyze planted crops and soil.
“So anything that you see with green, there’s not a lot of light being reflected back. That means the crop is absorbing it and you have active photosynthesis. Yellow, little bit of light is getting reflected back. You don’t have as much of a healthy crop. You might have a little bit of stress. Red, we’ve got some real problems. We’re looking at bare ground.”
Meghan Lamb is a youth interested in the Floral industry.
“My family grows a flower called gladiolus, and we grow them on a large scale. My family grows about eight to ten thousand of them, and we show them here at the State Fair and at county fairs across the state, and we also sell them at a local farmers’ market.”
Meghan’s Mother, Beth was awarded as the grand champion in the gladiolus class during the floral competition in the Horticulture Building today at the fair.