By Abigail Michnowicz
This year, I had the amazing opportunity to go on the annual Riverview High School (RVHS) Summer Agriculture Tour. One of the wonderful things about this trip is that you don’t have to attend Riverview High School to go. I am currently a student attending Spoto High School, yet I was still able to apply and attend the trip.
The RVHS Summer Ag Tour started in 2014 and has been going strong ever since, except for the COVID-19 years. This year was the first trip since 2019, and to ease back into the groove of things, we did a proper road trip. Normally, every other year they would fly into a state, tour the surrounding states and fly back home (with varying locations every year). But this year, it was just driving the whole time!
In only 10 days we went to 31 different agricultural industries spanning across the states of Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi. The sole purpose of these trips is to not only teach students about agriculture but show them the vast amount of opportunities they have within the umbrella term of ‘agriculture.’ We went to various places, such as a clam farm, sturgeon farm, sod farm, lavender farm, rice farm, hydroponics farm and so much more. We also visited multiple colleges that offer majors involved in agriculture, including dairy production, poultry science and production, plant production, biological and agricultural engineering, horse and beef teaching units and even agricultural education, though the list goes on and on.
We tend to forget just how widespread agriculture is and the endless opportunities it has to offer. There is always some area of agriculture that you will be able to find interest in. Not only do we get to learn about these different career choices, but we also get to share what we learned with others. I was so excited to tell my family, other FFA members and even my friends who aren’t related to ag what I did and what I learned on my trip.
Personally, one of my favorite stops was the dairy farm on the very first day. I saw dairy heifers and cows, and to be able to see such a large-scale production facility was so incredible! The farm growing its own crops for feed, the cow stalls, the sanitation management, the recycling of waste, the way it houses the calves, the process of the cows being milked and the milk being transferred onto the trucks which are shipped to processing facilities and then sent out to the stores, it was all so intriguing and interesting to see. Even though that was my personal favorite, I did enjoy every stop we had. There was not one stop on our trip that I found boring or uninteresting.
Overall, it was such an amazing experience getting to go on the trip and learn about all the different careers and opportunities related to agriculture while also getting to connect and make new friends that share the same interests as you. I learned so many new things from the new friends I made over the duration of the trip. The fact that this trip is not only available to Riverview High School students is one of the things I love about it.
To help make the trip more affordable for everyone, several sponsors contributed funding. A special thanks to these sponsors: FutureCow, Southeastern Grocers, Winn-Dixie, Hillsborough County Farm Bureau, Florida Strawberry Growers Association and Lacy Brown Specialty Advertising. Next year, the tour will be going to Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
True ‘agvocates’ don’t keep the opportunities to themselves, they allow others to participate so that they too can grow in their love for agriculture.