Today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders – this is certainly true in many areas of life, but it is particularly crucial when it comes to conservation and agriculture. Natural resources are vital to our everyday lives for many reasons. Perhaps one of the most important is in the production of our food.
“Educating our youth is so important, especially with conservation because they are our future consumers,” Kyla Hamilton, Texas farmer and Texas Corn Producers board member, said. “Certainly, as a farmer and rancher, conservation is huge in what I do. If we are going to continue doing what we do in farming and ranching, we need to share our story.”
Farmers and ranchers are tasked with feeding a growing world while caring for the natural resources that constitute their land. With this in mind, it is more important than ever to equip the young minds of today with a foundational knowledge of the role water and other natural resources play in our food system and the efforts being taken to conserve them.
One of the ways farmers and agricultural industry leaders are doing just that is with the creation of new curriculum. Texas Corn Producers (TCP) the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Texas (NRCS) established the NRCS Fundamentals of Conservation & Sustainability in Agriculture Certification, an iCEV certification testing platform.
Through their educational and training platform, iCEV brings together the NRCS’ science-based approaches to natural resource conservation, along with TCP’s proactive approach to our nation’s food security through the wise management of our natural resources. The certification provides with exceptional knowledge of conservation and sustainability relating to soil, water, plants, air and animals.
In a sense, Hamilton said this new certification program is an investment in the future.
“Everything we do as farmers and ranchers is future-based. When we plant seeds or when we raise cattle, it does us no good in its conception or its infancy: It’s the future. That’s the hope and the prospect. So, telling that story of what happens on the farm with the younger generations, that’s what farming is. It’s hope for the future,” Hamilton said. “This certification uniquely equips students with the foundational knowledge of how agriculturists work to leave our land better than before.”
Corn farmers are committed to continuous improvement in the production of corn, a versatile crop providing abundant high-quality food, feed, fuel and more. As stewards of the land, corn farmers across Texas and the nation understand the responsibility they have to create a more environmentally- and economically-sustainable world for future generations. Doing so with transparency and through continued advances in efficient use of natural resources.
NRCS is a recognized world leader in providing technical resources and science-based solutions to natural resource challenges on agricultural land. The valuable scientific information and research NRCS offers farmers are vital to our nation’s future. Making this information available to more people is a key goal for TCP. The future of our nation depends on consumers understanding farmers’ and ranchers’ stewardship of our natural resources.
Kristy Oates, NRCS State Conservationist in Texas, said that understanding natural resources in general helps raise awareness about the importance of preserving and conserving them for future generations. Gaining a fundamental knowledge of our natural resources comes with a variety of other benefits, too.
“This knowledge can contribute to the creation of jobs, economic growth, and the development of industries and technologies that utilize natural resources efficiently,” Oates said.
Providing youth with this foundational knowledge not only sets up students for meaningful and knowledgeable careers, but it also sustains our ability to produce quality, healthy food not only for Texans, but people around the globe.