8 reasons why ag careers are needed more than ever

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:

  1. 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.
  2. "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.
  3. 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!
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.



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Submitted by Alexandra on Mon, 03/19/2018 - 05:29

I agree with the impulse--using the strengths of different rural communities to improve their economies. However, the biggest problem, from where I stand, is that the government subsidizes cash crops which put the land (the biggest strength and natural resource of rural areas--there's a lot of it) at the mercy of bigger and bigger farms. These farms employ only a few people, keep the benefits of the land in only a few businessmen's hands, and, essentially, export, little by little, the most valuable resource of rural areas (the land!) to urban areas. That high-fructose corn syrup in everything you millions of people are buying in the cities, and that partially hydrogenated soybean oil your diet is inundated with, comes from a factory-like environment every bit as industrial and tied to business as Detroit's auto manufacturers.

Ironically, I heard that Detroit's gutted urban areas are being turned into farmland in an effort to revitalize the area.

Federal/state designs kill rural jobs and people. Schools, health care, and government are being cut - the top 3 for jobs. Rural schools lose to property tax based education - deficient where property values are lower or cannot be taxed. A more balanced funding design is needed to boost jobs and education.

Health care in rural areas is predominantly about basic services. Economics, health care, and jobs can be improved by paying more for basic hospital, primary care, mental health, and general specialty services. This is made worse by having to ship billions outside for Health Info Tech (Mail order pharmacies, etc.). Federal designs have suppressed primary care and basic services via payments too low everywhere patients with least locally supportive plans are concentrated - Medicaid, Medicare, high deductible, and Veteran patients.

Rural people must stop cuts of population based spending and must work with urban populations to reform payments for basic services. 75% of the rural pop and 32% of the urban pop resides in 2621 lowest physician concentration counties with 40% of the total pop (data from http://yourhomeworkhelp.org/do-my-statistics-homework/ ). The actions that resolve health access barriers also help to restore rural economics, primary care, general surgery, mental health, small practices, and small hospitals - dying by design.

Government has continued to centralize jobs at the state and federal level as well as cutting jobs. SNAP and Social Security cuts hit hard as these are some of the only equitably distributed funds.

When the government stops making soybeans, corn, and other mega-crops profitable for a few people, then the rural areas won't be beholden to serving the few big Agribusinesses that hold all the wealth. Instead, food will take on its proper cost, economies might develop around rural areas that have needs for college-educated workers rather than a few mechanics and truckers to haul the grain, and a bunch of hungry people on food stamps buying the soybean- and corn-syrup-filled foods at the discount food store.