EWING, Ill.— Over 100 local high school and community college students had the opportunity to learn more about the field of agriculture during the annual Career and Technology Field Day recently held at the Ewing Demonstration Center. Since its inception four years ago, University of Illinois Extension has hosted over 600 students at this this annual event.

Each year, industry leaders attend the event to answer questions and talk to students about what they look for in potential employees. This year, representatives from Magnum Steel Works shared information about skilled trade industries. Students also got behind the wheel of a John Deere 8320 tractor from Wm. Nobbe & Co. as they tested the advanced features of the equipment including auto steer and GPS functions.

The event provided recruiting opportunities for the University of Illinois and Southern Illinois University. Nick Wherley serves as the coordinator of recruitment with the University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES). Wherley led a fun, interactive game as he discussed the degree opportunities for potential students at U of I. Student ambassadors from the Southern Illinois University’s College of Agriculture Sciences were on hand to answer questions and share their experience as students in the field of agriculture studies.

Guest speakers WSIL TV3 meteorologists Nick Hausen and John Ross stopped by to answer questions and discuss weather-related issues impacting our area. They shared information on career opportunities in meteorology and how they relates to agriculture.

Robby Gilliam, vice president of lending for Farm Credit Illinois, discussed the importance of fiscal responsibility, even at an early age. He encouraged the students to establish their credit early so they can get a better rate when they need to get a loan.

The Ewing Demonstration Center has served the agricultural community of Southern Illinois since 1910 and drives research in the areas of cover crops, pumpkins, insecticide and herbicide trials and variety trials of corn, soybeans, sorghum, wheat and industrial hemp. Students had the chance to view the 60 acres of research plots as they traveled to each presentation station through “people movers” pulled by tractors.

Marc Lamczyk, local food systems and small farms program coordinator, has helped coordinate this event each year since it began in 2016.

“We invite the area vocational agriculture programs to our program as it exposes students to different aspects of our research and the agriculture industry. This helps them to be better prepared for classes (both in high school as well as college) that they will use in pursuing a career in agriculture” said Lamczyk. 

University of Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment. If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in programming, contact your local registration office. Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time for meeting your needs.  To learn more about other events hosted by Extension, please visit: http://extension.illinois.edu/fjprw/.

News source: Marc Lamczyk, 618-439-3178, lamczyk@illinois.edu  

News writer: Heather Willis, 618-357-2126, hdwillis@illinois.edu