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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

FFA leads former member to interesting career in entomology research

Today, special guest blogger Candice Rogers writes about how FFA led her to where she is today.

I am so grateful to have stumbled into ag and most importantly my local chapter of the FFA my freshman year at Wasco High School.

It was a stroke of fate that all of the regular biology classes filled up and the only biology class left was ag bio. I was reluctant to partake in the “ag” side of the bio class at first, because I was ignorant about where my food came from and didn’t give ag people the respect they deserved.

Luckily, my ag bio teacher gave me a little push when he encouraged me to enter the agri-science fair. The rest was history as I climbed my way from the tiny Kern county Agri-science fair to the National Agri-science fair held in Kentucky.

It was unlike anything I ever experienced, royal blue everywhere, like a vast ocean, and I dove right in. I learned that FFA isn’t just for ranch hands and people who grew up on a farm. Before high school, I had no experience with agriculture. Now, I am 25, the entomology research coordinator for one of the top ag companies in the world and so grateful to attribute the foundation of my knowledge to FFA.

As entomology research coordinator, basically I am responsible for carrying out and supervising all the research that goes on in our lab; it’s like a lab supervisor position except some of the experiments I help design and conduct myself. So not only do I get to make the visions of our research leader come alive, I also get to use my creative mind to think of new issues we can tackle. I work with major almond and pistachio insect pests and try to figure out how to eradicate them in the most cost efficient yet environmentally responsible way possible.

Integrated pest management is the future of farming. I have a bachelor’s of science in biology, eight years’ experience in agriculture research, as well as about 45 units worth of agriculture science from a community college. I will also be getting my PCA license this year.

Today I want more people to get the same opportunities as I had. I want to encourage every high school student to become involved with FFA; you will not regret a minute of it!

Your food doesn’t just come from the grocery store, in fact, that was only one short leg of its journey. Knowledge is power, what you know could shape your entire life. My new goal is to educate others about the value of the responsible producers and sustainably grown produce.

Read more about me at my blog, http://theoldladyatheart.blogspot.com/.

Candice Rogers is a former FFA member and National Agriscience Fair winner from Wasco FFA, California. She currently works in the agriculture industry and credits FFA for much of her success.
Think you might be interested in a career as an entomologist? Check out this job description to find out what it takes!

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