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Livestock farming appeals to Iowa youth
June 16, 2017

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Iowa's youth continues to have a strong interest in livestock farming according to the Coalition to Support Iowa's Farmers (CSIF) recent survey of Iowa FFA members. Of the students who reported their desire to farm, 89 percent indicated they intend to raise livestock.

The 2017 results also revealed that 54 percent of students who do not have a desire to farm would be most likely to work in an ag-business related field. This was the twelfth year CSIF has conducted the survey at the Iowa FFA State Leadership Conference. Responses were collected from 395 FFA members.

"I grew up around livestock and want to continue to be a part of a great industry that has taught me so many important life skills," said Ashley Kahler, a sophomore at Ballard High School and a member of the school's FFA chapter.

After attending a four-year college, Kahler hopes to pursue her passion for raising hogs and says she would enjoy caring for a small cattle herd as well. "I consider myself lucky to have been involved in raising livestock on my family's farm and I hope to share those same experiences and values with my own children someday."

Students like Kahler have the opportunity to pursue on-farm careers thanks to the 122,764 jobs livestock farming is responsible for in Iowa.

"The future of Iowa is still on livestock farms," said Brian Waddingham, CSIF executive director. "Despite the current downturn in the farm economy, there are many opportunities in livestock agriculture for the next generation including traditional species such as hogs, cattle, dairy, poultry and turkey, as well as emerging enterprises such as fish and shrimp."

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