Wanted: Good Men and Women for Challenging Careers!
Agriculture is a whole complex of agriculturally-related businesses, including:
1. Agricultural businesses who manufacture inputs for use on the farm
2. Agricultural businesses who supply those inputs to farmers and ranchers
3. Agricultural businesses engaged in farming and ranching
4. Agricultural businesses who store agricultural outputs
5. Agricultural businesses who process agricultural outputs
6. Agricultural businesses who distribute agricultural outputs
Approximately two percent of the U.S. workforce is involved in production agriculture. The percent of the labor force needed for agricultural production has been declining since the 1920s. Farmers have become more productive by trading technology for labor, becoming more specialized, using advanced varieties and other improved production techniques, and becoming better educated and better managers.
Agriculture is one of the few sectors of the U.S. economy to show a trade surplus over the last 50 years; if not for exports of agricultural goods, the overall trade deficit would have been far worse. Agriculture plays a vital role in the health and vitality of the economy.
The agricultural complex employs approximately 21 percent of the U.S. labor force. A study by the National Academy of Science for the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC) reports that the U.S. is "experiencing a major shortfall of qualified scientists, managers, and technical professionals to serve the United States food, agriculture, and natural resource system. This has and will continue to contribute to an eroded competitive position of this country's food system." Students prepared for agricultural careers are and will continue to be in demand, especially in the areas of food science and research into new and expanded uses for agricultural products.
What do employers want?
Employer surveys show that they want and need employees who have:
1. A strong technical knowledge base
2. Problem-solving ability
3. Communications skills
4. Team skills
5. An understanding of business and economics
How can you prepare for a career in this exciting field?
1. Technical preparation: Courses in agriculture, biology, chemistry, business, economics, and communications
2. Practical experience: Work experience, internships
3. Student activities: Gain skills and practice leadership, communication, and team skills