This month, Western Growers brought 50 students from Cal Poly Pomona, UC Davis, Cal State L.A., Fresno State and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to agricultural operations throughout Monterey County and Central Valley to educate them on the different career possibilities available in the industry.
The tours were part of WG’s Careers in Ag Program, which aims to encourage college students to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers within the agricultural industry. The program also facilitates career and internship placement between students and ag organizations through WG’s recently launched job board at https://www.agjobboard.com/.
“This experience was so informative—from the personal connections made to the knowledge about agriculture gained. This program brought the classroom and job opportunities I was interested in to life,” said Charlotte Allen, a mathematics major at Fresno State. Allen was among the 15 students who participated in the first-ever career trek with WG, Fresno State and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. The Central Valley trek was held June 24 – 26, and students met with WG members including HMC Farms, Booth Ranches, Anthony Vineyards, Dan Andrews Farms, Wonderful Pistachios & Almonds, Woolf Farming & Processing, Terranova Ranch and Simplot. The scholars also had the opportunity to meet with professional from the Kern County Farm Bureau and Kern Delta Water District.
Last week, 35 college students from Cal Poly Pomona, UC Davis and Cal State L.A. participated in the Monterey County trek where they learned about everything from the labor challenges farmers face to the importance of technology to the future of ag. They visited the WG Center for Innovation & Technology and met with members such as Bayer (Seminis), Ocean Mist Farms, D’Arrigo California, Ramsay Highlander, Taylor Farms, Inteligistics, GeoVisual Analytics, Croptracker, Bear Flag Robotics, Driscoll’s and Monterey Mushrooms. The students also networked with professionals during dinner from organizations including Resource Conservation District of Monterey County, Rincon Farms, Monterey County Farm Bureau and USA-Natural Resources Conservation Service.
To date, nearly 215 students have participated in the Careers in Ag program. The program has already resulted in numerous students receiving an internship with WG members, graduating to pursue a career in ag and changing their STEM major to be under the college of ag within their respective universities.