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CCFB News» May 2020

Food and Agriculture Consultant Seeks New Experiences to Expand Knowledge Base

05/21/2020 @ 12:55 pm

In the early 1980’s the Chicago Board of Education created the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences (CHSAS) to offer urban students the opportunity to explore agriscience at an elite public school.  In addition to general education classes such as English, science, math, foreign languages, and physical education students explore agricultural careers and leadership, agricultural science, and agricultural career pathway classes.  Agricultural career pathway classes include agricultural finance and economics, agricultural mechanics and technology, animal science, food science and technology, horticulture, and biotechnology in agriculture.


Chicago native, Thomas Poole’s agricultural journey started when he first walked CHSAS’s halls as a freshman.  After graduating CHSAS Poole pursued a degree in Crop Science from the University of Illinois in Urbana.  While at U of I, Poole flew drones, worked to reduce food waste in university cafeterias, and worked to integrate Argentinian technology into U.S. research and development.  Scholarship funds from the Cook County Farm Bureau® Foundation funded a portion of Poole’s time at U of I.  


Poole continued to seek new opportunities after college, as a member of the Cook County Farm Bureau Young Leaders Group.  Through this group, Poole has participated in numerous philanthropic and educational activities and events in Cook County and statewide.  Recently, Poole represented Farm Bureau to policymakers and legislators in Washington D.C.  In addition to lobbying on the Farm Bill, Poole and his colleagues advocated for the elimination of agricultural tariffs and the approval of regulations for industrial hemp.


Poole, a food and agriculture consultant recognizes how vast the food agricultural sector is with numerous interconnecting and overlapping industries.  The vast size of the industry leads to numerous career paths. 


Poole will return to the U of I this year as a graduate student encourages individuals to pursue every opportunity and to step outside of their comfort zone, especially when you’re not the “smartest” person in the room.  Its these situations where individuals will learn and experience the most.      


For those individuals interested in agriculture, the industry is vast and all someone has to do is be willing to explore, try new opportunities, and ask questions.

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