Help needed: Opportunity abounds in agriculture

Dave Bergmeier

Even with the uncertainty of the past six weeks we cannot lose sight that agriculture has historically led the way to our nation’s recovery and that means young men and women graduates, whether from a high school, a community college, a vocational school or a university are needed.

This year has been tough, at all levels a final semester in many aspects has been wiped out but that has not stopped the learning process. With challenges comes opportunity. Our cover story this week covers a topic on the minds of many growers from multiple states—how to conserve precious groundwater from the Ogallala Aquifer—and an innovative program from Northwest Kansas Technical College in Goodland, Kansas, is equipping graduates with technology and instruction on how to not only reduce the mining of the water but make sure each acre is used to best purpose.

As readers go through the story they will realize the program is a collaborative effort with private and public partners and, in the end, it is the students that will take a positive message to today’s growers and agribusinesses and their success means greater down the road. The NWKTC project featured soon-to-be graduates and entrepreneurs John Gower and Blaine Sederstrom and one of their valued instructors Weston McCary, who is the director of the Precision Agriculture and UAS Technologies program.

The enthusiasm of Gower, Sederstrom and their mentor is welcome news. People with roots in agriculture appreciate the timeless values of hard work, common sense, honesty and many other admirable traits of the men and women from the High Plains. In the aftermath of the global pandemic it maybe tempting to discourage youth from pursuing a dream on the farm or in the agribusiness fields. Our advice is to invest in them and stay the course because the returns.

Gower and Sederstrom are prime examples. They understand the situation is tough yet they have acquired skills to not only help them in their immediate future they also have skills that will benefit others in the agricultural chain. We must never lose sight that it is the timeless skills of young men and women who represent our best hope to most efficiently use our God-given resources to feed the world and provide a return on that investment, whether defined by intrinsic or quality of life or, most likely, a combination of the two.

May is traditionally a month that graduates from our core institutions receive public recognition and many hugs and hand shakes as they are about to embark on a new journey. COVID-19 may shortchange them on hand shakes but the rest of the journey is ahead and they will have a future in agriculture. Gower and Sederstrom are two of the finest of a bumper crop of soon-to-be graduates. Even the coronavirus cannot sidetrack the fact agriculture needs skilled graduates and it is heartening to know the call is being answered and our future is in good hands.


Dave Bergmeier can be reached at 620-227-1822 or [email protected].