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Take your kids to work – and get them hooked on agriculture

It’s time to proudly promote the industry, starting with your own family.

If you’re a farmer, chances are your kids have likely spent many an afternoon falling asleep in the buddy seat of a tractor or standing on a gate watching you round up cattle. But if you work in an office setting or another agricultural role, you may not have considered ever bringing your child to work. The thought may even make you cringe.

Consider this, however: the agricultural industry is facing the increasingly hefty challenge of feeding more than 9 billion people by 2050 with increasingly less labor. According to a study done by AgCareers.com in 2013, agricultural graduates made up just a mere 1% of college graduates nationwide with nearly two times the amount of job openings available.

Unless you do work on a farm and your kids are regularly exposed to what you do on a daily basis, it’s unlikely that they have a solid understanding of what you do and how your role is integral to agriculture. Spark passion

Taking your kids to work with you for the day or for just a portion of the day can be extremely effective in sparking passion for agriculture into the next generation. Show them what your company does. Show them where you work and what you do every day. Better yet, involve them in what you do.

If you work in a grain elevator, introduce them to some of the farmers that you interact with and take them on a tour of the facility (while keeping safety in mind). Get them behind the desk and on the phone. If you work as an agronomist, take them on a field visit. Explain what you show them in a way that they can understand. Have them help you collect samples or conduct tests.

Even if you work in an office and think that there is nothing exciting about your job, it may surprise you how interesting your child may find it when you involve them in a conference call or ask for their help organizing your upcoming trade show materials.

There is no telling what your child will pick up while accompanying you to work or how they may be inspired to consider an agricultural career of their own. Before you bring your child or children to work, however, be sure to use your best judgment based upon what your job entails and the work environment as well as your daily demands and your child’s age. Some settings may be less safe and/or appropriate than others. Also, be sure to consult with your human resources department or manager regarding any company policy related toward bringing children to work.

Remember, you don’t need to bring your child with you for the whole day, just long enough for them to get an idea of what you do and what your role in agriculture is. Proudly promote the industry, starting with your own. 

The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Farm Progress.

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