By Loren Lindler
Georgia’s Rural Center was proud to host the 2018 Ag Summit in Macon, Georgia, at Middle Georgia State University November 26. Agricultural and education leaders from throughout the state gathered to discuss the future of Georgia's largest industry, agriculture. Guest speakers included Gary Black, Georgia commissioner of agriculture; Zippy Duvall, American Farm Bureau president; Kristi Sproul, AgCareers.com; and Dr. Marcos Fernandez, associate dean and director of academic programs at Purdue University.
Black was eager to welcome guests and share, “we all have a big passion for this blessed industry that we are able to work in and love.”
The Ag Summit provided an opportunity to gather and talk about the future generation and how attendees can help them prepare for a future career in the industry. Fernandez talked about how the career opportunities are continuously growing and graduates have endless possibilities for success.
Duvall proudly shared his thoughts on Georgia agriculture and how our state is working to prepare for the future.
“I truly believe that we can be the bread basket of this country, and its going to take leadership from great people like you," Duvall said. "We have great institutions like ABAC, University of Georgia, and Fort Valley State – great institutions that are trying to prepare young people for our industry. That is something that I don’t really see a lot of across this country. I see some strong holds, but not widespread like I see here in our state.”
As the day wrapped up, attendees broke into small groups to brainstorm how to better prepare the younger generation to lead the industry. Groups talked about a variety of topics including so-called "hard" and "soft" skills, and being involved in extracurricular activities. But above all, they determined that to be successful, the ag community in Georgia need to find common ground. We look forward to seeing where this Ag Summit leads and how Georgia cultivates the next generation of agriculturists.
This post was written and submitted by Loren Lindler, an Ag Summit attendee and agricultural communication student at ABAC.
American Farm Bureau President and Georgia native Zippy Duvall speaks to state agriculture and education leaders at the 2018 Ag Summit Nov. 26 in Macon. Photo: Matt Reid, ABAC