FRANKFORT — Farming may not be the first thing people think of when it comes to drones.
Mohawk Valley Community College professor William Judycki explained just how that can be during the initial Farming Your Future event at the Herkimer County Fairgrounds on Wednesday.
Judycki asked students to imagine they had a farm with a numerous amount of acres of land where they had their own crops growing.
“It can help to evaluate crops,” he said, about the use of unmanned aerial systems. “If there is a problem with pesticide or irrigation, it’s nice to know at the beginning of the growing season than at the end.”
Judycki then went on to show radar maps on a screen that can help farmers locate where problems may be in their crops.
Farming Your Future was a collaborative partnership among Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES, Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES and Madison-Oneida BOCES — led by the Herkimer BOCES School To Careers program and the School To Careers Agriculture Committee.
The event included about 1,000 students in grades 6-10 from more than 25 school districts and educational programs in the three-BOCES region.
Students were able to tour four agriculture zones — animal science, plant science, end products and technology and equipment — featuring more than 50 exhibitors.
Students also were provided lunch and visited a pledge station, where they were able to sign a pledge on “making a lifetime of informed choices respecting agriculture and the environment.”
Holly Pullis, an Owen D. Young Central School Board of Education member, spoke to students before the drone presentation about her own experience with agriculture. She said she got into agriculture when she was about the same age of the students attending, and became more involved with the local 4-H.
Pullis said, during her career in agriculture, she has operated her own broad-breasted turkey farm for at least 18 years, a business she said supports her family.
“I think today is a fantastic opportunity for students to get a broad feeling of the variety of careers in agriculture,” she said after her presentation.
Central Valley Central School District Superintendent Richard Hughes attended the event, noting the district had 130 students participating. He said Farming Your Future provided a great opportunity for all students from Central Valley and the other school districts.
“What many people visualize as farming is much more,” he said, noting he grew up in a rural farming area. He added he believed the event will leave kids “inspired” to opportunities in the agriculture field.
Herkimer BOCES School To Careers Director Dr. Christopher Groves, whose Ph.D. has a focus on rural education, said it was important to ensure Farming Your Future would resonate with students from districts where children are familiar with agriculture and from districts where that isn’t the case.
“If they can all walk away with…