Ryan Jacobsen on the Renaissance in Agriculture 

By Charmayne Hefley, Associate Editor

In the past, the children of farmers were known to leave the farm to pursue careers that required higher levels of education and not return. Ryan Jacobsen, executive director of the Fresno County Farm Bureau, said those days are behind us. Jacobsen said nowadays, we are experiencing a renaissance in agriculture, as sons and daughters return to the farms and college students study agriculture.

“We’ve been very fortunate,” Jacobsen said. “When you look at the overall agriculture industry over the last decade, it’s been pretty bright.” Despite the recent national and global economic downturn, Jacobsen contends the California agricultural economy remained a shining star. “That shining star created what I consider to be a renaissance in the agriculture industry,” Jacobsen explained, “where we actually saw younger individuals come back to the farm. For so many years we shipped off that talent. We encouraged them not to come back to the farm to be farmers; we encouraged them to go off to other professions.”

“We are truly fortunate to be where we are today,” Jacobsen continued, “because of the renaissance and higher commodities and crop values. We’re seeing sons and daughters able to return to the farms and take their places within their family operations.”

We’re seeing individuals go to college for a career in agriculture,” remarked Jacobsen. “Over at Fresno State, the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology is seeing record enrollment—not just a little bit up, but shattering all previous records.” Fresno State’s Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology lists their current student enrollment as of September 14 at nearly 2,000 undergraduates and 75 graduate students.”

“It’s encouraging that young individuals see an opportunity and a future in agriculture, plus the desire to help our industry,“ Jacobsen said.