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Agriculture Options

High schoolers face an abundance of options as they begin to consider what they will do after graduation. Agriculture provides these students with post-graduation opportunities in over 250 careers.

The FFA Career Day, held at DeKalb County Farm Bureau, was developed to help high school students explore these options.

Students put their nose to the test! (From left) Bradford Edwards, Joey Wolney, Jaedyn Slutz, and Myranda Wilbur identify flavors based on smell at FONA International. FONA creates and manufactures flavors for the food industry.

The annual day-long Career Day exposes students to careers and colleges. Eighty high school students were split into small groups in the morning and experienced six different presentations.

The presenters included: Amy Buhrow, Northern Illinois University; Kim Rotella, Kishwaukee College; Jeff Landers, Joliet Junior College; Carrie Pollard, Pipestone Veterinary Services; Melissa Phillips, Bayer; and Bob Myers, Hawk Aerial Imagery.

In the afternoon, the students toured FONA International in Geneva. FONA creates and manufactures flavors for food. Katie Sudler, the Community Education Director for FONA, had the students smell flavors then guess what food products they were used in. The students also toured the lab where flavors are created.

While at FONA, Jessica Stanley-Asselmeier with the Northern Illinois Food Bank next door spoke to the high schoolers about the importance of food donations and the work that goes into running a food bank. Students brought non-perishable food to donate.

Students learn about high-flying careers. Bob Myers with Hawk Aerial Imagery was one of the speakers at FFA Career Day. Bob showed the students several drones he uses to scout fields and take photos.

The Career Day was organized by DeKalb County Farm Bureau and the DeKalb Area Agricultural Heritage Association with a grant from Enbridge Energy.

At the end of the day students had a better understanding of several agriculture career options.