Thanks to an expanding population and growing need for food, a U.S. Department of Agriculture outlook report forecasts that five percent more college graduates with expertise in agricultural and food systems, renewable energy, and the environment will be needed from 2010 to 2015.
According to FeedstuffsFoodlink.com, “Optimistic Career Outlook Awaits Ag Graduates”, the USDA projects about 54,400 annual career openings nationally for individuals with college degrees in food, renewable resources, and environmental specialties through 2015.
What can ag grads expect for available occupational opportunities in the coming years?
- Business and science occupations – 74%
- Agriculture and forestry production – 15%
- Education, communication and government services – 11%
In the Feedstuffs article, Don Marshall, director of academic programs for South Dakota State University’s College of Agriculture & Biological Sciences says that while traditional career areas such as agronomy, livestock, feed, natural resources, food and dairy processing and financial institutions are still in demand, new career opportunities are cropping up in food safety, agro-security, biofuels, genetic technology, precision farming and technical support.
Although the increasing global population and growing demand for food continue to boost opportunities for agriculture, challenges, including limited land availability, new emissions requirements, and managing the environmental footprint, also continue to rise to the surface.
“Agriculture will face complex issues, and those issues will create careers in and of themselves,” says Marshall. “We will need people in those career areas who can provide leadership for agriculture and rural communities.”
With 54,400 annual jobs up for grabs in the next few years, who’s ready to get to work?