During the intensive five-day workshop, participants were able to network with industry experts, as well as with their fellow participants. Jones said that this networking was very helpful for him.
“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity,” he said. “You get to go out and meet people from all around the country. You get to learn and to network, and you get to see those people that you wouldn’t normally have contact with.”
For example, Jones, who is a junior majoring in plant science with a minor in food and agribusiness marketing and management, was able to interact with apricot farmers from California, a far cry from the farm he grew up on in Milford, Del., where his family raised chickens and cows and grew grain.
Hearing about the program from his adviser, Arba Henry, instructor in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR), Jones said the most informative part of the program was learning about how farm operations are passed down from one generation to the next.
Henry said of the program, “The New Century Farmer Program Jake experienced will benefit him in his future goals, whether it is in agribusiness or returning to his five-generation family farm.”
In addition to the educational opportunities afforded to the participants, such as listening to speakers talk about farm issues and learning about topics such as how banks view farm operations, there was also time for fun and bonding.
Participants took part in a leadership and team building ropes course, field and operation tours, and toured the DuPont Pioneer campus.
Jones has been involved in FFA since high school, and he currently works on UD’s research farm in Georgetown. Although he is a junior, Jones is hoping to graduate this year and is considering graduate school.
The New Century Farmer conference is sponsored by DuPont Pioneer, Case IH, CSX Corp. and Farm Credit with media partner Successful Farming as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.
Article by Adam Thomas