The life of an agricultural worker might not be the most desired position, but it can be fun, rewarding and profitable.
Recently, Grower's Co-operative Grape Juice Co. Technical Director Steve Cockram and WJET-TV of Erie Meteorologist Tom DiVecchio presented before Dunkirk Middle School technology and home economics students to talk about the agricultural industry which surrounds them.
"Were promoting the agriculture industry, the grape industry in particular, and the potential careers that these kids can have in the grape or agriculture industries. Agriculture is the biggest industry in Chautauqua County, Erie, Pa., New York state, and Pennsylvania state," Cockram said.
OBSERVER Photo by Michael Rukavina
Grower’s Co-operative Grape Juice Co. Technical Director Steve Cockram speaks with Dunkirk Middle School technology and home economics students about the grape industry in the area and potential careers within.
The program, which is fully funded through the Northern Chautauqua County Foundation, is a joint partnership between the Co-op and WJET-TV out of Erie, PA.
"We started the program with the Grape Grower's Co-op and we're the ones who go out to the schools. Besides promoting agriculture, we want to come to see the middle school students now as opposed to when they're in high school, to get them thinking about careers in general and in agriculture," Meteorologist Tom DiVecchio said. "If you lose agriculture, the county is going to lose out and the state will lose out as well. So hopefully in our own small way we get the kids thinking about agriculture as a career."
Cockram said most grape farms are family run and they rely on the future family to maintain and keep up the industry.
"Many times if you're not in the agricultural family industry you never look at it as a potential option. As one kid leaves the family the whole farming community gets smaller and smaller," he said.
Although many corporate businesses are feeling the economic crunch, Cockram said the agricultural, grape and wine industry is fairly stable and there are jobs to be had.
"The one spot that will be looking for more people is the wine industry as it expands. A lot of mom and pop wineries will be opening and they will be looking for people," he said.
The group has presented for classes from Pennsylvania to Dunkirk; including Westfield, Ripley and Brocton. If schools are interested in having the presentation come to their schools contact, Tom at firstname.lastname@example.org
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