Monday, June 14, 2010

Agriculture Jobs are Growing!

I just read some great news for high school seniors debating which career path to take. According to an article in Cattle Network based on a study by Purdue University and the USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture, ag-related careers are showing promise.

Over the next five years, job opportunities in this broad field of study are said to be even better than during 2005-10. I think this has a great deal to do with the diversity of agriculture and the fact that consumers are wanting more information about where their food and fiber comes from and how it is handled.

I hope this new interest in agriculture will influence the curricula of the many outstanding agricultural programs in Texas. We need bright minds to bring innovative thinking to the future of agriculture in the Lone Star State.
You can read the entire Cattle Network article below:

Report: Job Market Expected To Improve For Ag-Related Grads
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Employment opportunities for college graduates in agriculture and related academic fields are expected to be better over the next five years than from 2005-10, according to a report by Purdue University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

The "Employment Opportunities for College Graduates in Food, Renewable Energy and the Environment" report estimates 54,400 jobs in agriculture-related sectors will be added in the United States annually between 2010 and 2015. In that same period, 53,500 students are expected to graduate each year from U.S. colleges of agriculture and in the life sciences, veterinary medicine, forestry and natural resources, and allied non-agricultural fields.

"Depending on their area of expertise, there should be good opportunities for graduates, with some growth in total jobs during the next five years," said Allan Goecker, associate director of academic programs for Purdue's College of Agriculture and one of the report's authors.

A summary of the report is available online at

Nearly three-fourths of the new jobs will be in business and science occupations; 15 percent in agriculture and forestry production; and 11 percent in education, communication and government services.

"In the business and management fields, occupations in sales and service continue to be the bellwether for employment opportunities," Goecker said. "I also think we're going to see more emphasis on people who have expertise and experience in financial planning and management and in environmental compliance."

Other fields with above-average job growth through 2015 include food science, plant sciences, biological engineering, public practice veterinary medicine, specialty crop production, forest restoration, precision agriculture, crop management consulting, climate change analysis, distance education and natural resources conservation, Goecker said.

"Many of these areas are tied to food and renewable energy, which are considered necessities," he said. "Five years ago we were talking about opportunities in the 'green' industry, particularly areas such as turf management and landscape architecture. Right now the job market in those areas is not very strong because they tend to be viewed as luxury services."

The future job market for college graduates with degrees in food, renewable energy and environmental fields will depend on macroeconomic conditions and retirements, consumer food choices, public policy decisions, and global market shifts in population, income, food and energy, Goecker said.

"There will be niches in the market where we will be undersupplied in the work force and areas of the market where we'll probably have more graduates than the market can accommodate," he said.

The report is based on data from the U.S. Department of Labor, the National Center for Educational Statistics, and colleges and universities.

Source: Allan Goecker, Purdue University

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