By Amanda Hill

What would it be like to go to the grocery store and none of the shelves be stocked? No cereal. No milk. No fruits and veggies. To be honest, that thought doesn’t usually cross my mind.

And why should it? In America, we’ve never even come close to that problem—thanks to generations of farmers who continue to take the reins.

A new crop of young and enthusiastic farmers is emerging, ready to continue agriculture’s legacy. In a time when many college graduates are left unemployed, agriculture majors have an incredible job placement rate. I’ve seen rates near the 100th percentile from major agriculture programs like Iowa State, leading students to opt for a life on the farm over careers in investment banking and law.

And younger students are taking notice, too. In fact, last week the National FFA announced its membership grew by 17,000 young people during the 2010-2011 school year. Texas led the organization in both new members and total members. In Texas, more than 86,000 young people are developing skills in leadership, personal growth and agriculture education through the FFA program.

That’s great news. We need more young people to return to the farm, and we need to encourage a business climate that makes it possible.

Kudos to the newest FFA members and all of the young Texans who are pursuing careers in agriculture. Thanks to you, may our grocery stores never be bare!