Planting Seeds - Food & Farming News from CDFA

Future is bullish for Ag graduates

Poster: Agriculture is the nation's largest employer with more than 23 million jobs involved in some facet of American agricultureMy email in-box lit up last week after Yahoo! published a story claiming that college degrees in agriculture are useless.  It certainly is a counterintuitive statement. Across our country, farming is hotter than ever. Agricultural exports broke records in 2011, and demand for local production of food made available through farmers’ markets and other venues is an exciting trend that I firmly believe is here to stay.

The view from here shows a dramatic increase in farming-related job opportunities, and that’s much more than young people on the farm. There are roughly 300 different kinds of careers in the food industry. It takes a lot of hands to grow, package, distribute and serve food to hungry consumers here and around the world. Many of the available jobs are unfilled because, as technology advances, there is a corresponding need for science and technical educational programs. The foundation to meet that demand must be built at the high school level and then extended into colleges and universities. Some of our best minds are working right now to address this issue. Agriculture needs young minds now more than ever.

In the meantime, as the Washington Post reported recently, Ag graduates are finding jobs. The Post referenced a study by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce showing that Ag graduates were among the most employable coming out of college.

So that Ag degree is very useful, and graduates will be highly sought-after well
into the future. Don’t let anybody tell you differently.

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4 Responses to Future is bullish for Ag graduates

  1. Karen Sweet says:

    One of twelve jobs is ag-related! The U.S. economy, according to National Institution of Food and Ag will generate an estimated 54,400 annual openings for individuals with baccalaureate or higher degrees in food, renewable energy and environmental specialties between 2010 and 2015. We must encourage young people into these career choices to ensure the ability of agriculture to feed and clothe us, to produce ag-based products used in daily lives, and to conserve natural resources. We must sustain the agriculture colleges and ag research.

  2. Joe Maruca says:

    That article in Yahoo! news must have been a little shortsighted. When you have powerful people like Bill Gates donating $27 million recently to a company that is trying to develop better crop yieldings through genetically modified organisms (GMO) to help solve world hunger (from yet another Yahoo! News article of all places —>–abc-news.html), one can argue this is bound to translate into jobs in the near future for today’s ag and science graduates.

  3. Don Curlee says:

    My response to whoever sent the Yahoo article was a question, asking where they think all those Chico, Davis, Fresno and Cal Poly grads are going every year. I run into them all the time, and they’re happily employed, making ag in California better, sharper, more productive, more profitable. The author should be locked in stocks and pelted with pmegranates — today, then oranges tomorrow, and a different fruit or vegetable daily until . . .

  4. Christy Clayton says:

    …someone finds the box of ripe tomatoes!

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