By Zach Parrott, OCJ field reporter
The Ohio State University Extension Office in Seneca County recently established the nation’s first Agricultural Exploring Post.
Exploring is a youth organization, serving 110,00 youth with the goal of teaching important life and career skills to young people from all backgrounds through immersive career experiences. Matt Kibler runs the Exploring program in 13 Ohio counties for the Black Swamp Area Council.
“The agricultural program is unique, because we are going to be taking students around Seneca County and neighboring counties to give them a hands-on experience in farm management,” Kibler said. “This also includes: soil and water conservation, aerial spraying or application, and the financial aspect of running a farm.”
Businesses including Kalmbach Feeds, POET, Sunrise Cooperative, The Mennel Milling Company, Ag Credit, Sunrise Cooperative, Andersons, ST Genetics, and USDA Farm Service Agency are all involved in teaching these young students how to budget and manage a farm.
“As northwestern Ohio has been hit with this poor weather it’s been tough for the ag business,” Kibler said. “It’s important for ag students to understand financially how a farm works.”
The agriculture exploration program is hosted in Seneca County, however it is open to participants throughout northwest Ohio. Sept. 24 is this program’s first open house at the Miller farm.
This program is open to students ages 14 to 20, who have completed the 8th grade. Through immersive hands-on experiences, students will gain knowledge of all the opportunities that exist in this exciting career field. Parents and grandparents are welcome to attend meetings and field trips as well. Youth registration forms will be available at the open house, and those under the age of 18 must have a parent signature.
The registration fee is $44 and provides participants with general liability insurance. This fee can be paid at the open house via cash, card, or check. If you have questions, contact Matt Kibler at 567-245-1259 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To RSVP for the open house, e-mail ExploringAg@gmail.com.