From the Ground Up - Ag Needs Its Smart Kids Back

Texas A&M’s Annual Beef Short Course was held last month and one of the speakers at the event maintained that for far too long, many of the best and the brightest of our young people have been urged to pursue careers outside of agriculture.

Bruce Vincent is a logger in Libby, Montana.

“What they talked to Dad about that night was how to keep me from being a logger because they had told them that I had scored high on the Iowa Basics Test and if I ended up being a logger, it was his fault, he had a heritage not worthy of passing own, at least not to intelligent children, and he wore that mantle of guilt around for decades.”

Vincent got to work with his Dad in the family’s logging business.

“He passed away two years ago now, and when I was standing out in a forest looking at a hillside of trees, trying to figure out how to apply modern forest management to the hillside, I had two degrees hanging on the wall and Dad didn’t have a one and there was a stupid person standing there and it was not my father. He had more sustainable information about his environment that he had been managing than he could have gotten with a doctorate degree from Yale, but it came to him through his hands. He learned by doing, and society for some reason has decided to discount that knowledge base and they continue to discount at their own peril.”

Vincent stresses that agriculture needs its smart kids back.

“I have four very intelligent children. I want them to go to college to a place like Texas A&M, and then I want them to remember when they leave here, all the theory they learned floats around in nah-nah land until some real person takes it to the real ground and tries to apply it, and that’s what we could lose if we tell kids we’re not a heritage worthy of handing to the next generation. We’re going to end up with scary Larry and his idiot brother on a 1952 John Deere tractor doing what? We need our smart kids back in our fields and our farms and our forests if we’re going to feed and shelter nine billion people and protect the earth.”