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Local School Leaders Gain Insights into Cutting-Edge Trends and Career Pathways

by Berks County Intermediate Unit

Mar 22, 2024

Brown’s Feeds.

In an effort to stay attuned to the ever-evolving landscape of agriculture in the county, Berks County school leaders participated in the Berks County Agriculture Workshop on Wednesday, March 20, 2024. The immersive experience provided attendees with a comprehensive understanding of current trends, technological advancements, and the diverse career opportunities within the agricultural industry. In addition to school administrators from the 18 Berks County school districts and two career and technology centers, community agriculture partners also attended the workshop, allowing for valuable networking opportunities.

Hosted at the Berks County Intermediate Unit (BCIU) Main Office (1111 Commons Blvd., Reading) and two agricultural sites, the workshop began with a presentation from Emily Wangolo, Executive Director of the Berks County Department of Agriculture; Kim Fies, Deputy Director of the Berks County Department of Agriculture; and Clyde Myers, Project Specialist for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program. These experts shared invaluable insights, highlighting objectives that included exploring advancements in agricultural technology, sustainable practices, emerging areas, and preparing students for rewarding careers in the industry.

Kurtland Farms.

Participants then embarked on on-site visits, witnessing firsthand the cutting-edge operations at Brown’s Feeds (South Furnace Street, Birdsboro) and Kurtland Farms (4365 Main St., Elverson). At Brown’s Feeds, a sixth-generation business known for its customer-focused approach, attendees learned about the state-of-the-art technology employed in manufacturing high-quality feed for a diverse range of livestock. Kurtland Farms, a multi-generational dairy farm owned and operated by the environmentally conscious Kurtz family for over a century, offered a glimpse into innovative and sustainable agricultural practices.

Partnering with the Berks County Department of Agriculture has made it possible for our Berks County school leaders to visit working farms and gain firsthand knowledge of the latest advancements and trends in agriculture,” shared Stacy Dunleavy, BCIU Program Administrator, Office of Professional Learning. “The new PA Environmental Literacy and Sustainability standards highlight PA agriculture, and this workshop is designed to foster a deeper understanding of the vital agricultural industry as well as build connections to STEM careers in agriculture. Through these opportunities, we can better equip our students with the skills and knowledge necessary to pursue rewarding careers in agriculture and contribute to its continued growth and sustainability in our backyards.

The workshop concluded with a roundtable discussion, where Berks County school leaders shared their observations and ideas, sparking a collaborative dialogue on how to effectively prepare students for diverse career opportunities within the agricultural industry.

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