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IFAL Brings Together Future Agricultural Leaders

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RALEIGH — Future farmers from every corner of the state were in Raleigh last week to experience college life and get a look at different education and career opportunities.

The students are in a program called IFAL. IFAL is short for the Institute for Future Agriculture Leaders. Some of them have never been out of the county where they were born. By building bonds early, the move to university life is not as traumatic.

"And when you come to IFAL, you see people who are also interested in the same things you are and when you go to your college and you pick your major and your department, you see the same people you see in IFAL, it gives you that closeness and security as you move on in your future career," says IFAL leader Alex Silliman.

Silliman was in IFAL three years ago and now attends NC State and serves as a guide for other IFAL students. The program lets young people spend time on a campus, eat meals in a dining hall, and most importantly, allows them to experience college life.

"By coming here to IFAL, they actually get a more in-depth look at what each department offers," says Silliman.

It is not uncommon for incoming college students to switch majors again and again. This group has a leg up by visiting every department in the College of Ag and Life Sciences, and getting a quick study in the fields available after graduation.

"About 2,000 veterinary students graduate each year and I can tell you the job market is great for those students," an instructor tells them in an N.C State classroom.

And that is what the program is about getting the young people settled in a successful career so they can help the next group of wide-eyed future leaders too.

The event is held each year at both N.C. State and North Carolina A&T Universities.


Dan Wilkinson, Reporter
Dan Wilkinson, Photographer
Julian King, Web Editor

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