What does it take to get started in production agriculture? The LSU AgCenter‘s Louisiana Young Ag Producers Program will provide some answers for high school students who apply and are accepted into the 2013-2014 class.

Louisiana Young Ag Producers is a one-year, intensive classroom and hands-on, mentor-based experience that introduces high school juniors and seniors to the options available to them in the areas of food and fiber production and encourages them to enter an agriculture career, said Bobby Soileau, program coordinator.

“This program provides students an opportunity to learn more about becoming an agricultural producer,” Soileau said. “Candidates must demonstrate a sincere interest in entering the profession, agree to attend the summer institutes held in 2013 and 2014, and complete 50 internship hours with a qualified mentor during the 2013-2014 school term.” 

Paul Coreil, LSU AgCenter vice chancellor and director of the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service, sees the program as an opportunity to get young people interested in careers in agriculture. “The face of agriculture is changing. The number of producers is decreasing, and their average age is increasing, so it is important that we present students with information about careers in production agriculture.”

Coreil also pointed out the importance of agriculture and forestry to rural economic development and the increased food and fiber demands required to sustain a growing world population.

“The demand for food is expected to steadily increase over the next 40 years, which means careers in agriculture and forestry are essential to our future.” 

The 2013 summer session will be held July 22-26 on the LSU-Baton Rouge campus. In addition to the AgCenter, major sponsors of the program include the Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry.

The 2012-2013 class has 13 members currently engaged in internships with their mentors. This group of students has a wide range of production interests, which include beef, rice, sugar, crawfish, goats and specialty crops.

Information on the application process is available online at www.lsuagcenter.com/layapp. The application deadline is March 1, 2013.