The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and Department of Labor today announced that they are partnering again to promote agricultural careers at The 2023 Great New York State Fair. Agriculture Career Day at The Fair, held Thursday, August 24, aims to get young people excited about the diverse possibilities for future jobs in the agricultural industry. The Career Challenge, an educational scavenger hunt with interactive exhibits, will help young fairgoers learn about a wide variety of career options and connect directly with industry and education representatives, with a chance to win exciting prizes.
New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “Getting young people interested in agriculture is critically important to the future of our industry. Events like Agriculture Career Day are a great opportunity to spark an interest in a wide variety of agricultural careers – from farming to engineering to environmental management – helping to ensure that New York’s agricultural community will continue to grow and thrive."
New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said, “Agriculture Career Day at The Great New York State Fair is a unique opportunity to inspire and engage the next generation of agricultural leaders. Through interactive experiences and connections with agricultural professionals, we are fostering excitement about the incredible range of careers within this critical industry. We are proud to partner with the Department of Agriculture and Markets to make the event a success.”
Interim Fair Director Sean Hennessey said, “The 13 days of the Great New York State Fair are rooted in agriculture, and there is no better time or place to showcase the diversity of agricultural careers available to young people. We’re excited that Agriculture Career Day remains a staple of our Fair lineup this year and encourage young people to take part in this exciting event.”
As part of Agriculture Career Day, event participants are invited to enjoy the Career Challenge and enter to win one of two Nintendo Switches. The Career Challenge is a scavenger hunt around the Fairgrounds, where participants visit nine stations featuring hands-on activities that tie in with an agriculture career path to learn more about the various agriculture-related careers available to young people today and in the future. Young people interested in participating in the Agriculture Career Day events should register at the Main Gate and move through the Fairgrounds to various stops of the Career Challenge.
At each station, hosts from New York Agriculture in the Classroom, Future Farmers of America (FFA), SUNY Morrisville, SUNY Cobleskill, and more will talk about the career opportunities in that field of food and agriculture as participants complete an interactive task. Stops this year will help participants to:
- understand that all the products we use each day begin on a farm;
- sequence the steps of milk from farm to table, and identify related careers;
- identify the costs associated with producing New York food products; and
- learn about agricultural career paths, including:
- environmental systems,
- power, structural, and technical systems,
- dairy processing,
- natural resources, and
- plant systems.
Participants who complete six out of the nine stops and turn their cards in to the Agriculture Career Day tent at the Main Gate by 2:30 pm will be entered in a drawing to win one of two Nintendo Switches.
Katie Carpenter, New York Agriculture in the Classroom Director said, “Creating opportunities for students to experience careers in agriculture at the Fair is an annual highlight for our program. The Agriculture Career Challenge allows us to capture the attention and interest of students and families as they think about the entirety of our complex food system and the breadth of jobs that are needed in today and tomorrow’s food industry.”
SUNY Cobleskill President Dr. Marion Terenzio said, “In showcasing the state's many agriculture sectors at the New York State Fair, we recognize that the foundation of our ag-focused industries relies heavily on the continuous influx of talent. SUNY Cobleskill is proud to be a leader in developing programs that foster a seamless path for college students to embrace agriculture disciplines and create an accessible pipeline for the next generation of agri-professionals. Through Agriculture Career Day, the College and our fellow representatives of New York’s food system are cultivating interest and passion in these fields and reaching the minds that will one day carry these vital industries forward."
Sheila Marshman, PhD, Division Chair for Plant, Animal, and Agribusiness at SUNY Morrisville said, “At Ag Career Day, youth of all ages will learn about careers where they can make a difference with people and the planet. Through hands-on stations like SUNY Morrisville’s vermiculture station, youth will explore the amazing well-paying careers throughout the entire food system, from soils and agronomy to food production and safety.”
Shari Lighthall, Director of Agricultural Education Outreach at the Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences said, “By providing students with hands-on authentic learning experiences related to agricultural careers we hope to cultivate these students’ interest in our food and fiber systems and develop future agriculturalists. Agricultural education and FFA is growing the next generation of leaders who will change the world by developing a skilled agricultural workforce.”
In addition to Agriculture Career Day, New York students from across the State show off skills in agriculture, science, and robotics during all 13 days of The Fair. Demonstrations take place daily in the Youth Building and FFA Building on the west side of the Fairgrounds. A complete schedule of events can be found at nysfair.ny.gov/your-visit/daily-schedules.
Agriculture Career Day at The Fair builds on the State’s ongoing prioritization of workforce development in the industry. During her 2023 State of the State Address, Governor Kathy Hochul pledged to build a strong agricultural workforce pipeline. As part of that commitment, the 2024 New York State Budget invested over $1 million to help the Department of Agriculture and Markets partner with key workforce experts, industry stakeholders, and educational institutions to grow and develop a pipeline that recruits new job seekers, advances existing employees, and connects migrant individuals and asylum seekers to the food and agricultural sectors through the following four key pillars: career engagers, career starters, career builders, and career advancers.
Founded in 1841, The Great New York State Fair showcases the best of New York agriculture and provides top-quality entertainment. It is the oldest fair in the United States and is consistently recognized as being among the top five state fairs in the nation.
The New York State Fairgrounds is a 375-acre exhibit and entertainment complex that operates all year. Audiences are encouraged to learn more about The Great New York State Fair online, browse photos on Flickr, and follow the fun on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.