Berks County Youth Explore Careers in Agriculture

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Students from Hamburg and Kutztown Area High Schools had the opportunity to explore careers in agriculture first-hand and on the farm this month.

Students enrolled in agricultural science courses at Kutztown Area High School visited S-Pine-Lawn Dairy Farm owned by the Schuler family in Fleetwood. The Schuler Family milks about 100 cows and raises their own crops for livestock feed. The family also shows premium Holstein cows within the state and nationally. After stopping for lunch at Longacre’s Modern Dairy, students met 11th generation farmer Ryan Ehst and his father, Kenneth, and learned about raising hydroponic vegetables at Butter Valley Harvest Farm in Bally.

Butter Valley Harvest markets their vegetables, including their popular butter lettuce, in stores locally including Redner’s and Wegman’s. Their produce is also used by chefs in nearby restaurants.

Students interested in learning more about agriculture from Hamburg Area High School had a behind-the-scenes tour of Giorgi Mushroom Company. There they learned about the mushroom industry from the scientific process of making compost to packing grown mushrooms for sale or soup-making. They also learned about careers in food processing at Appeeling Fruit in Dauberville. Appeeling Fruit cuts and packages apples and grapes for distribution to restaurants including Burger King and convenience stores including Sheetz.

Kutztown Area High School teacher Celeste Ball expressed how great it was for the students to learn about dairying and hydroponics outside of the classroom. Her students operate a small greenhouse at the school, but the operation at Butter Valley Harvest was on a much larger scale and used a lot of modern technology to produce vegetables year-round in a temperature-controlled environment.

Funding for both field trips was made possible through grants from the PA Department of Environmental Protection’s Environmental Education Grant Program, CCRES, Chester County Workforce Investment Board, and Educational Institution Tax Credits (EITC).

AgConnect is a network of farmers, business owners, and service providers connecting farmers to business resources, training, and financing to grow business and promoting smart agricultural economic development. AgConnect, a regional private-public partnership, serves Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties.

The Chester County Economic Development Council is a private, non-profit economic development organization promoting smart growth in Chester County and the surrounding region for over 50 years. The CCEDC provides proven financing solutions, cultivates workforce talent, leverages business partnerships, and fosters entrepreneurial collaboration. Together, with the support of the private and public sectors, CCEDC initiates,implements and innovates programs that improve the business community and enhance the quality of life in Chester County. For more information, visit our website,