Written by Diahne Gill, Executive Director, Northwest Natural Resources Institute 

For more than 30 years, the Pacific Northwest Farm Forum, a committee of Greater Spokane Inc.’s Agribusiness Council, has offered regional FFA students the opportunity to come together in February for their State Officers Meeting as well as a presentation from a renowned motivational speaker. This year, the 800 students in attendance listened to Bruce Vincent speak on the topic “With Vision There Is Hope.” Students come from throughout the state to experience a day that is designed with them in mind. 

In 2015, the Pacific Northwest Farm Form implemented a Career Fair to enlighten attending high school students about business careers in agriculture. There is a tremendous opportunity and need in the agriculture industry for employees with a business background who wish to specialize in this field. Many students do not know the career opportunities available within the ag industry. Providing students with information on these careers in one location is a major success of the FFA day. Representatives from fields such as accounting, legal, marketing, finance, technology, sales, education, machinery and management are featured.  Bringing these industry professionals together with the students, it provides a great opportunity for career connected learning. Abbie DeMeerleer, Executive Director, Washington FFA Association states:

“The Pacific Northwest Farm Forum / Spokane Ag Expo FFA day is an incredible opportunity for Washington’s FFA members to gather to learn more about the cutting-edge agricultural technology and industry innovations, hear from world-class industry speakers and take the very things that students are learning in the classroom and see them applied in real life, as well as discover education and career opportunities through the [Pacific Northwest Farm Forum’]’s special FFA career fair.”

This opportunity provides hundreds of students from throughout the state including Pasco, Ephrata, Colville, Medical Lake and Freeman as well as students from Idaho, to see the ever-changing aspects of agriculture-related careers. Seeing the students’ excitement is very rewarding for the Farm Forum Committee and the career fair continues to grow year after year.