While agriculture is a multi-billion dollar industry that directly affects everyone in the world each day, employers still struggle to find enthusiastic, qualified candidates. According to USDA, "between 2010 and 2015 there will be more jobs available in ag and food systems, renewable energy and the environment than qualified graduates to fill them." With the industry booming – but college students being left uninformed about the importance of agricultural careers – the numbers need to increase.
Here are eight reasons that agriculture is needed now more than ever and to choose an agricultural career:
- Population is Increasing. By 2050 the world's population is projected to hit 9 billion people. To be able to feed and clothe the world, the population is going to rely heavily on agriculture. With that comes the need for new technology, hard workers, creative minds, and college graduates that are ready to get into the workforce and support this ever-changing industry.
- "New" generation of agriculture. Baby boomers are in the primary agricultural leadership roles, but they are retiring at vast rates, leaving many positions un-filled. Employers are having difficulties finding the right talent to put into these positions and 60% of them are shifting their focus to recruiting college graduates.
- Job diversity. Within the last 20 years, agriculture has expanded and become so diverse, giving job seekers a wide variety of careers to choose from. There are significant jobs in production, economics, marketing, agribusiness, technology, sales, finance, microbiology, communications, and much more. In 2013, there were 52,862 jobs posted on AgCareers.com containing differentiated career opportunities in every aspect of the agricultural industry!
- Shortage of college graduates in agriculture. The truth of the matter is, there just are not enough people going into an agricultural related program of study causing a shortage of qualified job seekers. According to the AgCareers.com Enrollment and Employment Outlook Survey, less than 1% of college students are in an agricultural major. In 2013 there were 56,000+ career opportunities in the industry but only 29,000 graduates were trained to fill them.
- Industry growth. Since the industry is growing at such a fast pace, there is high demand for qualified job seekers in every aspect of agriculture. The U.S. Department of Labor projects significant growth in selected food, renewable energy, and environmental jobs from now and throughout 2018. Even more, the Agribusiness HR Review shows that 60% of employers are planning to do more college recruiting within the next 1-5 years.
- Technology advancements. Agricultural technologies are constantly evolving to help improve productivity. With the new technology, comes a need for job seekers with the right education to be able to work with and develop the technology that will continue to shape the industry.
- Increased salary. To remain competitive and to secure the best talent in the industry, employers have been consistently increasing salaries. They have also offered better benefit packages to retain employees. Furthermore, qualified talent is being promoted now faster than any other generation has before.
- Rewarding. Working in an agricultural related field is rewarding. You get the peace of mind knowing that you are making a positive impact on those around you. People that have careers in agriculture are passionate about what they do and want to see the industry be successful and prosperous. It's rewarding to know that by working in an ag-related career, you are making a difference. Plus, the industry is an easy sector to network and make lasting connections with others in your field.
It is undeniable that the agriculture industry is one of the smartest career paths to take. Whether you are looking for a company that you fit in with, a competitive salary, or you want to make a difference, the agricultural sector has such a wide variety of jobs to choose from that it is easy to find what suits you best. It's a growing field that needs new and talented employees to be ready to fill positions and be the next generation of agriculture.