September 27, 2023

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Some North Carolina students are using agriculture to further their career goals.

Thousands of students from across the state gathered to highlight the importance of the agriculture industry on Wednesday.

The Raleigh Convention Center was filled with middle and high school students participating in the North Carolina Future Farmers of America – or FFA – Agriscience Fair.

Nick Reston (Chloe Rafferty/CBS 17)

Students included Millbrook High School graduate Nick Reston and sophomore Toby Bell.

“I’m really interested in environmental education and working with animals, which a lot of my experience in the FFA does help with that,” Reston said.

“It’s eye-opening I guess you could say. I’ve met a lot of new people that I normally wouldn’t meet and I’ve seen some different points of view,” Bell said.

Chuck Benson grew up in FFA, where he met his wife, and now partners with the organization through BASF Agricultural Solutions.

“Not only are we preparing students in rural communities, but also suburban communities and urban communities,” he said. “We want to have a strong, vibrant next generation that leads agriculture. There’s so many challenges from ‘are we going to produce enough food’ and ‘are we going to do it sustainably enough’, and we know that the answer is all of these students that are behind me right now that will help lead that charge.”

(Chloe Rafferty/CBS 17)

Current members of FFA encourage other students with similar interest to get involved.

“Getting started with something small like just doing a research paper for fun and then seeing if you can develop an Agriscience Fair off of that, it’s a really good way to get your foot in the door,” Reston said.

The FFA plans to announce the winners of the Agriscience fair Thursday. Those students will then look to compete at the national level.

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