Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno said the state must lower the average age of farmers Wednesday night to ensure New Jersey remains the “Garden State.”
Guadagno delivered the keynote address at the 100th annual New Jersey Agricultural Convention at the Tropicana. In her speech, she said the average age of the New Jersey farmer is 59, and farmers must work on getting millennials involved with agriculture.
“You get the students’ interest by making it cool,” she said. “You have awards. You have competitions. You create apps. You text about it.”
She said the state must increase STEM-Ag education initiatives to keep pace with the changing nature of agriculture. Guadagno said there are 21 high school districts in the state with a Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education program, in which students who graduate from the program can get 11.5 college credits — a value of about $30,000 — for free at participating schools, such as Rutgers University.
“Farming today is not going to look like farming 10 years from now, or five years from now,” she said.