Many people living in the United States credit our country’s origins to politicians; however, upon further consideration of America’s agrarian roots, it cannot be disputed that its true basis and foundation was established from farmers. Within today’s modern, technologically advanced society, the average American is subject to ignorance and apathy towards those who work tirelessly to produce crops and livestock that ultimately benefit us as consumers. When I first arrived at the Virginia Governor’s School for Agriculture, I cannot deny that I shared the same apathetic views towards agriculture as the majority of my fellow American citizens. Nonetheless, after hearing the words, “We are all involved in agriculture,” I truly began to realize its significance in our society.
Within this program, I have been able to witness firsthand how agricultural farms and pastures utilize their land, soil, crops, and livestock in ways that are efficient, profitable, and environmentally conscious.
Of the numerous trips we have taken thus far, the one that I found the most fascinating was our trip to Kentland Farms. There, we were able to hear from Ph.D. researchers how farmers are currently improving conventional agricultural techniques to implement a new method known as agroforestry. This practice involves incorporating trees into pasture lands; as a result, grazing animals suffer from less heat stress and generate higher quality products. Beyond commercial opportunities for farmers, our global seminar group has had the opportunity to research how agroforestry methods can be used to mitigate the effects of climate change. Through a process known as carbon sequestration, agroforestry naturally siphons excess carbon from the atmosphere and deposits it into the soil. By utilizing agroforestry techniques, farmers will be able to increase crop yields as well as reduce the imminent threat of climate change.
Kentland Farms, Virginia Tech
Prior to my participation in this program, I disregarded fields in agriculture and its respective industries. With a newfound mindset and optimistic view, however, I have discovered the allure of modern agricultural study and innovation. As George Washington once put it, “Agriculture is the most healthful, most useful, and most noble employment of man.”
This blog post was written by Raka Mazumder, a 2019 Governor School Student
Edited by Ibukun “Dami” Alegbeleye, a 2019 Governor School Leader