Eastern N.C. students get chance to grow farming roots at ag expo

WILLIAMSTON, N.C. (WNCT) – With technology careers increasing, the USDA reports the number of people in agriculture-related careers is declining.

“Our kids are out of touch with agriculture,” said Laura Rogers, outreach education director for the North Carolina Soybean Producers Association.

That’s why thousands of students from Beaufort, Bertie, Hyde, Martin, Pitt, Tyrrell a Washington counties attended the annual Northeast Regional Ag Expo at Bob Martin Eastern Agricultural Center in Martin County.

The expo’s purpose was to students to agriculture-related careers.

Student Ashley Nobles said the expo opened her eyes.

“I never knew it took that much effort,” said Nobles. “Whenever you’re eating, you don’t think about how much effort a farmer puts into it, and now I know they put so much effort just to give me that food.”

Student Drake Daughtry’s grandfather owns a hog farm, and his dad is a production manager for Smithfield Foods. He may have farming in his blood, but he said he has other plans after college.

“It’s called a veterinary pharmaceutical sales representative,” Daughtry said. “You will be very interactive with the vet, and they get drugs and you’re able to travel and go around with different companies.”

Other students said the field is interesting but not something they would want to do full-time.

Besides students, Sen. Thom Tillis’ eastern North Carolina regional representative Adam Caldwell also stopped by the agricultural center.

He met with students interested in farming and discussed the impacts of Hurricane Matthew. Caldwell said millions of dollars of crops were ruined from high waters and rain.

“It’s still our states top industry and not many people realize that because we are a changing state, but when our farmers hurt our whole state hurts,” said Caldwell.

Caldwell said from the federal standpoint they are doing everything they can to help farmers.

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