Some are born into farming.

Multi-generational family farming is common in Washington. Around 95% of all farms in the state are family-owned, with many farmers working the land as the fifth and sixth generation to do so.

"So is the farm still in your family?" is a question often heard by owners of the 412 Centennial Farms in Washington. These farms have been around for over 100 years. Eighty-eight percent are still in the same family.  

Youth programs point kids to a future in farming.

4-H and County Fairs

WSU extension oversees 4-H youth programs where, among other things, youth can be involved with hands-on projects such as raising livestock and showing them at county fairs.

Some discover farming at school.

Elementary school programs help teachers give students an appreciation of agriculture. Washington Ag in the Classroom improves agricultural literacy in K-12 students and teachers. The WSDA Farm to School program helps students understand where food comes from. Schools serve meals made from food grown by Washington farmers and students learn to grow food at school.

Growing food in a school garden is an experience educators can use to teach everything from math and science to literature and art.

Urban farming provides city youth opportunities to be inspired to become farmers.

Students at on-site GruB farm stand.

Programs like GruB in Thurston county involve urban young people in learning how to grow and market food on a small scale. 

Future Farmers of America, or FFA began with a mission of preparing future generations to feed a growing world population. That mission has expanded to encourage science, engineering and entrepreneurship. Today the Washington FFA Association  reaches out to individual students, providing a path to achievement in leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.

You may have seen FFA students in their iconic blue jackets. These students are participating in School-Based Agricultural Education through FFA. FFA teachers evaluate the skills students have learned by encouraging them to participate in career development events such as competitions and conferences. Last year, Washington FFA students traveled to Kentucky to attend the 2015 National Agriscience Fair. Washington Friends of Farms and Forests, helped sponsor a student whose project about testing the effect of sight on food preference made it to the final judging.  

photo by Mackenzie Hamilton

Educational opportunities are plentiful in Washington for would-be farmers.

University Programs

With 24 majors, 19 minors, and 27 graduate level programs, the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Resource Sciences at Washington State University in Pullman, is the leading education center for people  interested in pursuing a variety of agriculture careers. 


WSU Extension 

Agricultural Extension was started over 100 years ago.  Extension educators established a philosophy that’s still relevant today, “helping farmers to help themselves.” There are 39 locations around Washington where communities and individuals have access to education from experts in topics as diverse as livestock nutrition, wine grape research and pesticide safety.

Community and Technical Colleges

Community colleges offer AA degrees in Agriculture.

Yakima Valley Community College is just one of several community colleges that offer training in a wide spectrum of agriculture interests. These include; production, processing, marketing, distribution, financing, and development of diverse agricultural commodities and resources.

Another example is Edmonds Community College which prepares students for employment in landscape horticulture and plant production.

Do you think you might want to become a farmer? Learn more about it.

As farming has evolved to embrace more technology, the number and diversity of career paths in agriculture has multiplied. Washington's Agriculture Center of Excellence acts as a central hub for the collection and dissemination of the most current agriculture and natural resource education and training information. The Center is a good place to explore more about what it is like to be a farmer in the 21st century.