By Colleen Taber
Administrator, Kern County Farm Bureau
The average age of US farm producers in the United States in 2017 was 57.5 years old, according to the USDA’s 2017 census. This statistic partnered with the decrease in farms, farmers, and farmland leaves us concerned about who will continue to grow the agriculture industry. How can we engage the next generation of youth in agriculture to help feed the nation?
Sagar Gupta, a recent graduate of Stockdale High School, started pursuing a career in agriculture in middle school. It all started with an 8th-grade science fair project. While some parents dread the science fair projects, it was this exposure to agriculture where Sagar worked with our University of California Cooperative Extension of Kern County studying nematodes. In high school, Sagar continued his nematode research by partnering with California State University, Bakersfield’s Dr. Isolde Francis, in the lab leading to his desire to pursue a degree in molecular biology. After receiving his 15 college acceptances, he received word that he was waitlisted at the University of Pennsylvania—his dream school. Sagar was also accepted to the University of California, Los Angeles and adjusted his plans to stay in California to further is his education.
Sagar is our Michael Mettler Scholarship recipient. His passion for Kern County agriculture, his determination to reach his goals, and his courage to follow his dreams were evident in his interview. We are looking forward to following Sagar and his career, building upon the relationship with the Kern County Farm Bureau.
Before publishing this piece, I contacted Sagar, and he shared that he will be attending his dream school after all! The University of Pennsylvania contacted him extending an offer to attend.
Congratulations, Sagar Gupta! We are looking forward to sharing in this journey. Your ag community here in Kern County is cheering for you.