Youth from across the country assembled at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center over Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend to discover career opportunities and pathways in agriculture as part of National 4-H Council’s National Youth Summit on Agri-Science. Sponsored by Merck Animal Health, this four-day intensive experience was designed to address the shortfall of graduates for the 54,000 annual job openings for those with agricultural college degrees.

After interacting with scientists, researchers, leaders, politicians and advocates in the fields of agriculture and science, attendees gained knowledge and skills related to the production of food, feed, fuel, and fiber, especially in the emerging areas of animal and plant sciences. During the four-day experience, youth also learned about the challenges facing the agriculture industry, including global food security and sustainability, and how youth can play a role in addressing these challenges today and in the future.

“The 4-H’ers and their peers who attended the National Youth Summit on Agri-Science developed skills and relationships that will help guide them in their careers in ag-science,“ said Jill Bramble, senior vice president and chief development officer of National 4-H Council. “With this sponsorship, Merck has ensured that tomorrow’s leaders have a head-start on sustaining the future of the agriculture industry.”

The youth left National 4-H Youth Conference Center prepared to serve as champions for agriculture in their home communities – helping to increase the agricultural literacy of the general public and key local stakeholder groups.

“The youth who attended this summit are the future leaders of the animal and plant science industries,” said Jim Miles, Merck Animal Health. “When youth are engaged in such an engrossing way at such an impressionable age, seeds are planted that will grow into fulfilling and successful careers.”

To learn how you can get involved in the 4-H National Youth Summit Series, please visit http://www.nationalyouthsummit.org/.