Agriculture continues to play a major role in the state and local economy, and Madison-Oneida BOCES is proud to provide students in our region with multiple pathways toward viable careers in the agriculture industry.
We offer area high school students opportunities to explore various aspects of agriculture through a number of our Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs.
Through our Conservation program, students gain hands-on experiences in maple and honey production, beekeeping, logging, landscaping, forest management, wildlife management and surveying. These students compete in regional skills competitions at Morrisville State College and Paul Smith’s College, and they go on to successful careers in the industry.
In fact, the 2020 NYS Maple King, Kyle Hale, is a graduate of the MOBOCES Conservation program and the Canastota FFA, where he served as chapter president and held state leadership roles. He is now studying Agriculture Business and Management at SUNY Cobleskill. Hale said one of his passions is promoting the agriculture industry, and he has run his own maple tapping and production operation for several years.
“I love advocating for agriculture and FFA,” he said after receiving his Maple King title. “I am extremely lucky to have this position and be able to do something I love.”
MOBOCES also offers agriculture industry connections through its Equine and Animal Science program, where students practice caring for horses at a local barn and learn large animal anatomy and physiology in preparation for careers in veterinary care, breeding, and animal training and management.
Even programs outside of the core Agriculture track – particularly those in the Construction and Mechanical Trades fields – have appealed to many students who live or work on farms. These students come to us with extensive prior knowledge of farming, but they want to learn more about repairing engines on farm equipment, operating heavy machinery, building a barn from the ground up, or installing electrical wiring. Many of these MOBOCES students travel to regional agriculture-focused events, such as Farming Your Future and Construction Careers Day, an event we co-host each year.
A core aspect of our CTE programs is work-based learning, which allows students to spend time in local businesses and organizations to see first-hand the work that industry entails. Many of our students gain their work-based learning hours through site visits, job shadows and full semester internships at local farm-related businesses, such as heavy machinery shops, horse stables, animal hospitals, state parks, fish hatcheries, motorsports stores, and local highway departments.
This list represents just a small sampling of the agriculture and agribusiness industry. The field encompasses so many diverse career opportunities for our future workforce, and we hope middle school and high school students consider further exploring agriculture for their college or career path.