COLUMBUS — The Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation (OFBF) has announced projects for 2018 which will focus on introducing youth to agriculture in Ohio.
“We [OFBF] believe in the next generation of members and young people pursuing a passion in agriculture,” said Adam Sharp, OFBF executive vice president, at the OFB annual convention in Columbus. “With the Ohio Farm Bureau’s Fisher Fund, we are able to put resources toward that belief.”
The two projects are: Explore Ag Program and Youth Pathways to Careers in Agriculture. These projects will result in county farm bureaus’ agribusiness, higher education, and youth-serving organizations to better share the story of modern agriculture.
The Ohio Farm Bureau’s 99th Annual Meeting in December marked the one-year anniversary of the OFBF Fisher Fund for Lifelong Learning. The fund supports educational projects and programs for school-aged youth and adults with focus to build greater awareness of food production and knowledge of the interconnected food system.
The Explore Ag Program will launch this summer. The program will provide a week-long experience for high school freshmen and sophomores, providing students with agricultural learning opportunities.
Internationally known teachers, scientists and researchers will teach students in subjects areas including food science, precision agriculture, animal science, business and more. In addition to classroom experiences, students will participate in field experiences that highlight cutting-edge technology and will meet industry partners who will provide students with a glimpse of possible careers.
In the first year, 50 students will be selected through a competitive process and all of their costs will be covered by the Fisher Fund. The first year of the program will take place on The Ohio State University’s main campus and at its Agricultural Technical Institute in Wooster. OFBF has committed $125,000 for the first two years of the program.
The second program, Youth Pathways to Careers in Agriculture, will support projects that introduce students and train them for high demand career opportunities in food, agriculture and natural resources.
The program is open to nonprofit organizations or those with a fiscal sponsor. The foundation is accepting applications for the program Jan. 1 to March 20. OFBF has committed $100,000 in funding in 2018.
“We are particularly interested in programs that further create career pathways to allow students to explore the wide variety of careers in agriculture’s related fields,” said Sharp. Through 2020 the OFBF has adopted a strategic grant-making emphasis focused on creating youth pathways on agricultural careers.
“Working together we can inspire the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs to become the problem-solvers and leaders in agriculture,” said Sharp. “I think these programs are a significant step in the right direction.”
The Fisher Fund for Lifelong Learning was established by Ohio Farm Bureau Federation in 2016 in honor of former Farm Bureau Executive Vice President John C. “Jack” Fisher. To learn more about the Fisher Fund for Lifelong Learning and other Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation programs, visit fb.org/foundation.