(BPT) - The importance of agriculture is abundant - from the food we eat, the major industries it supports and the benefits it provides to our environment. But looking ahead, in order for agriculture to continue to advance, it's essential to educate and inspire young minds, invest in the next generation and turn today's youth into tomorrow's leaders.
That's where youth agriculture organizations come in.
According to Christi Korzekwa, senior vice president of marketing at Tractor Supply Company, the nation's largest rural lifestyle retailer, the future of farming is in the hands of these young leaders. 'Organizations like the 4-H and FFA play an integral role in educating youth and fostering the importance that agriculture plays within our society,' said Korzekwa. 'It's important to inspire these young members while providing opportunities to showcase their achievements and form strong relationships within their communities.'
Across the country, state and county fairs have a long tradition of doing just that - bringing people together, promoting community and connecting all ages.
Members of youth agricultural organizations are familiar faces at these events. For them, state and county fairs are more than just an experience - they serve as a platform.
Through fair experiences and involvement in youth agricultural programs, 4-H and FFA students are growing into the agriculture leaders of tomorrow through:
Fairs are community events at their core. They serve as a great platform for young people to connect with other members of the community. These relationships open the door for future contributions, increased civic activity and even boosted confidence.
Through creating, executing and presenting agricultural projects, fairs empower youth and give them an opportunity to develop their passions.
Young people flourish when their hard work is recognized. It builds confidence and passion for what they do, as well as supports the larger rural community.
The importance of good sportsmanship can never be overstated. Similarly, neither can the importance of healthy competition. Competing in fairs helps drive individuals to work toward a tangible goal, grow confidence and get inspired by what they are doing and what their peers are doing.
To honor these young students' achievements and foster community connection, Tractor Supply has begun its fourth annual 'Follow Us to the Fair' Tour, an interactive experience that travels to state and county fairs across the country. Happening now through Nov. 10, the tour will hit 24 fairs across the country to connect with local communities and celebrate the role 4-H and FFA youth play in making their communities better places.
Last year, Tractor Supply recognized 95 hardworking 4-H and FFA members during special ceremonies along the tour for their exceptional community contributions through its 'Great Neighbor' Essay Contest. The essay contest is back for its second year to continue giving well-deserved recognition to 4-H and FFA youth.
Tractor Supply will celebrate more than 100 award recipients from this year's contest along the tour. Winners were selected from hundreds of applicants who were encouraged to submit a short essay detailing a specific 4-H or FFA experience and how it has influenced their development as a great neighbor in their community.
At each location along the 'Follow Us to the Fair' Tour, members of the community are sure to be inspired by the incredible work showcased by America's young people participating in 4-H and FFA and how they are making an impact on the future of the agriculture industry. In addition to honoring these youth, the 'Follow Us to the Fair' Tour features free, family-friendly activities and prizes for community members to enjoy during their fair experience.