Students Explore Careers in Agriculture

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Students learn about growing field crops at ASR Grain Company.NC State Extension partnered with Cleveland County Schools vocational agriculture instructors to provide a weeklong hands-on camp that exposed rising 7th through 12th graders to career opportunities in agriculture and agribusiness. Nearly 40 students participated in the camp during June 12-16, 2023. Funding for the camp, including bus transportation and meals, was provided by the Career & Technical Education Department of Cleveland County Schools in conjunction with their REVup Summer Careers Experience, which immersed other students in career exploration in the health care, technology, skilled trades, and public services fields.

Students visit the milking parlor at Bell's Dairy.The agriculture camp featured tours of the Tryon International Equestrian Center, Wells, Jenkins & Wells (meat processing facility), Greene Family Farm (farmers market grower), Cleveland County Livestock Exchange (livestock auction facility), Cline’s Nursery (diversified ornamental plant producer & retailer), ASR Grain Company (row crop farming, custom fertilizer applicator & grain marketing service provider), Wilson Farms of Shelby (large scale small grain producer and straw bale manufacturer), Shelby Corn Maze (agritourism venue), Case Farms (commercial broiler houses), Willis Farm of Belwood (on-farm sorghum syrup, corneal & grits manufacturer) , Toluca Grain and Hay (hay & straw reprocessor), Knob Creek Orchards (large scale commercial fruit grower), Parker Family Feed Company (farm supply and feed dealer), Bell’s Dairy (commercial dairy operation with a new robotic milker), Martin Charolais (beef producer), Lewis Farms (commercial vegetable producer), and Newgrass Brewing Company (value-added food manufacturer). Students also heard presentations about beekeeping and the animal science program at Cleveland Community College.

Students were actively engaged in the learning opportunity throughout the week, with several expressing interest in pursuing part-time job experience and higher education leading to future careers in agriculture.

Students view combine at ASR Grain Company.

Students examine observation hive provided by Cleveland County Beekeepers Association.Students learn about producing ornamental plants at Cline's Nursery.Students learn about producing beef at Martin Charolais.Students learn about value-added food manufacturing at Newgrass Brewery.