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      JWCC welcomes agricultural students to Quincy

      John Wood Community College hosted its 4th annual Women Changing the Face of Agriculture Conference Friday.

      The event offers high school and college women a chance to network with some of the most highly recognized agricultural business women.

      Professionals spoke about the many different career paths students could pursue in the industry.

      Agriculture isn't a career path just for men. Many women have entered the field and their numbers are growing.

      "There are more women farmers then ever before. Women growers are taking over as the head of the farming operations," Aubrey Frietag said.

      Agriculture has evolved from farmers working out in the fields into a billion dollar industry with job positions in advertising, banking and public relations.

      Frietag is one of the coordinators for this year's conference. She says business professionals come from across the country to speak with students about growing job opportunities in agriculture.

      "Some are in business, some are very hands-on with food production," Frietag said. "Some are on the engineering side, and some are in marketing."

      More than 550 students from 75 Illinois schools networked with more than a hundred agricultural professionals and experts.

      "I kind of wanted to come here and see what other careers with the finance pathway that I could get into," Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences student Brooke Bennett said.

      Students had many questions for experts on which career path would best suit them.

      "Where would I possibly fit into this structure, what kind of background, what kind of education should I consider?" Illinois Director of USDA Rural DevelopmentColleen Callahan said.

      After listening to a few speakers, some students decided they would pursue a degree in agricultural studies.

      "A lot of the ladies here today are definitely looking get their foot in the door for their careers," John Wood Community College student Megan Rothe said.

      Frietag said a career in agriculture is becoming a lucrative industry for women.

      "It's needed, there are tons and tons of job opportunities that exist more than ever," Frietag said.

      Agricultural business professionals say more woman then ever before are pursing degrees in agricultural studies, particularly in the field of animal science.