Judging by the enrollment numbers of numerous agricultural programs for students, youth are showing an increasing interest in farming, reported South Carolina's Independent Mail. More than 10,000 students are enrolled in agricultural programs in South Carolina's secondary schools, said John W. Parris, director of the South Carolina Agri-News Service in Columbia.

The FFA, formerly known as the Future Farmers of America, is experiencing record enrollment. Statistics released in September 2011 show that there were 540,379 students enrolled in FFA chapters, an increase of 17,070 members from one year earlier.

The organization has not had this many members in its 84-year history.

Kristy Meyer, a spokeswoman with the National FFA Organization, said the number of members dropped in the 1980s, then began to climb in the last two decades. The 17,070 member increase from 2010 to 2011, however, was a larger spike than usual, Meyer said.

Parris and Meyer attribute the increase in agricultural education to a growing awareness that agriculture involves more than farming, and an awareness that it is a growing industry.


There's also some assurance in this tight economy that there are jobs to be had in the agricultural field, which is adding to the industry's attractiveness, Meyer and Parris added.

Clemson University's Agricultural Education program has 100 percent job placement for its graduates each year, even during the recent economic recession. PD

—From the Independent Mail (Click here to read the full article.)