Abingdon, Va. - Quick, what's the number one industry in Virginia? Just look down at your plate at mealtime and that should give you a good idea that it's agriculture.
Here's another question -- are young people still interested in agriculture and farming? It was apparent they are as Southwest Virginia's high school students gathered for an agriculture and natural resources career fair on Tuesday.
We found out the interest is still there despite the long hours and hard work involved.
If you look around the Grand Hall at the Higher Education Center in Abingdon, it looks very much like any high school career fair this time of year, but it's all geared towards agriculture and related fields. Lots of colleges were there, plus other businesses that you might not connect with agriculture.
For every job created down on the farm, it creates one and half more jobs. "When you create agriculture jobs, not only are you creating jobs for people in that industry, you're creating service jobs for people in other industries to serve the agriculture community," Holston High School agriculture teacher Sarah Scypers said.
But will young people respond to a 'help wanted' ad that read something like this? "It is more than a 40 hour a week job. You have animals to care for. You have crops to get in. You can never plan anything in advance because something always happens to take away from it," farmer Adam Wilson says.
Thankfully, there are people who take on the challenge and provide food for our tables, and the future is bright. "If we can keep the interest and the knowledge in the young people, then agriculture will definitely have a good future ahead of it," Wilson said.
That's the reason for the career fair, and it's not a hard sell to let the students know about the nature of the business. "It goes out in the long run the help everybody else. It's a big industry. I think it's worthwhile," Patrick Henry junior Madison Massie said.
"I think everything relates around agriculture. Everything corresponds around agriculture today," Patrick Henry senior Wyatt Rasnake added.
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