Olin, North Carolina
Farm Credit Affiliation
Carolina Farm Credit
Farmer and high school agriculture teacher Bill Walker says, “Agriculture is an ever-changing industry and the future of agriculture belongs to those willing to adapt and prepare for the future.” That belief has been the foundation of his efforts to grow and improve his school's agriculture program and FFA chapter.
He currently works with more than 425 agriculture students and FFA members who cultivate an appreciation for the agriculture industry and take that excitement into careers, college and their community.
“I have seen what FFA and agriculture education can provide for students if they take the opportunities presented. The 'ah ha' moment that students have when everything clicks is priceless,” says Bill. “Students in our area are rooted in agriculture but sometimes struggle to see the entire scope of the agriculture industry. It is my goal to be able to show them how important agriculture is and how they can pursue a career in that industry.”
The FFA chapter at Bill's school conducts a monthly service learning event to give back to its community. FFA members work to provide food, clothing, firewood and other needs to the less-privileged in the community, partnering with local organizations to ensure that their efforts are successful.
Bill also supports an annual “Wake Up to Agriculture Day,” when more than 1,700 kindergartners from all sixteen elementary schools across his county learn about agriculture and its importance. This event was the inspiration of a former student, and is now supported through partnerships with Carolina Farm Credit, Iredell County Farm Bureau, The North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service, Iredell County Cattlemen’s Association, North Carolina Wildlife Service and other nearby agribusinesses.
Bill currently serves as the chairman for the Iredell County Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers committee, where he’s worked to expand membership and support this important group of producers. A young farmer himself, Bill won the North Carolina Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers discussion meet in 2014, and placed in the top 16 of the national contest.
“I foresee countless opportunities for those involved in the agriculture industry to be successful and profitable,” says Bill. “We will have to develop and embrace new technologies and techniques to be able to supply the food, fiber, and fuel the world needs. I feel that this will open many doors for individuals who may not have thought of themselves as pursuing a career in the agriculture field.”
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