Agriculture, the bright spot in down economy
I feel very blessed that I have a job that I love that also supports me. During the holiday season, I pray for the families who are struggling to pay their bills and will have difficulties affording presents for their children at Christmas. As the U.S. unemployment rate continues to hover around 9 percent and the recession drags on, folks are beginning to worry about how to make ends meet.
However, there is a bright spot, and it’s agriculture. According to the USDA, 54,000 new workers will be needed in the agriculture field by 2015. What’s more, the world population is expected to grow to 9 billion people by 2015, and these people are going to need to eat. That’s where agriculture comes in.
“Record high agricultural exports and a booming world population, as well as a growing interest in the farm-to-table and sustainable living movements, are helping to create significant demand for skilled workers in every area of agriculture. From diversified farming and food production, opportunities are as varied as working for a multinational agriculture company or starting your own ag-related business abound,” writes Christopher Dutton, DVM for The Huffington Post.
Traditionally, to be involved in agriculture meant raising crops or livestock, but today’s agriculture is wide and diverse. One thing that hasn’t changed though is that to be in agriculture, you’ve got to know how to work hard!
“Any agricultural endeavor requires specific skills and the ability to think critically and creatively,” says Dutton. “Science and math are prerequisites, as is a willingness to work hard and get dirty, sometimes really dirty! Hands-on experience is a fundamental marker for success. Farm kids — born or created — have a leg up when it comes to launching successful careers in agriculture. Schools like Vermont Tech that focus on applied learning — the opportunity to integrate theory and practice, incorporating both knowledge and skills — can provide that hands-on experience. If you’re interested in a life in agriculture, look for agricultural education programs that feature extensive collaborations with farms and businesses in the local and regional community. This expands a student’s set of practical opportunities. Experience on many different types of farms, interacting with food outlets and other ag-related businesses, is invaluable in helping to learn about how the agricultural economy works.”
Knowing that there is an abundance in agriculture opportunities is definitely a bright spot in today’s economy. Whether interested in math and science or reading and writing, there is a fit for you in agriculture. And, to meet the growing demand of an expanding planet, we are going to need the best and the brightest to be a part of agriculture!
“We’ve heard a lot in these recent years about disappearing jobs,” adds Dutton. “In agriculture, whether you’re drawn to a lifestyle that is more connected to the local land and community, or you’re moved by the idea of solving world hunger, there are plenty of opportunities to pursue. You may not have an IPad in 2050, but you’re sure going to eat.” Without a doubt, agriculture is a bright spot in a down economy. If you’re looking for work, look to agriculture. ❖