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The Importance of Agriculture
January 19, 2012

In light of misleading recent published articles, wanted to share some current statistics regarding education and careers in agriculture. 

The value of agriculture-related degrees cannot be underestimated. No other industry can feed the world’s population that is growing at a rate where we cannot produce enough food for the number of people.  According to research (Feedstuffs, October 26, 2009) our food production must double by 2050. To do that, graduates in degree programs such as agriculture, horticulture and animal science are needed. 

According to the latest data from, 81% of jobs in the ag industry require education beyond high school and almost half require at least a bachelor’s degree.  According to the Enrollment and Employment Outlook Report in 2008 there was a deficit of 9,317 graduates with agriculture degrees to fill open positions in the US. 

Although unemployment rates remained high in 2011, experienced a significant increase in jobs posted on the site. In 2011, had almost 40,000 job openings posted in the United States (up 16% from the previous year).   That is more than 3,300 agriculture-related job openings each month.
Agriculture positions are not only production-based, but encompass a broad range such as sales representatives, research scientists, quality assurance, marketing and engineers, just to name a few. People may also be surprised to find out that the average starting salary for a graduate in the ag industry is almost $49,000 (according to the AgrowKnowledge Enrollment and Employment Outlook Report and the Compensation Benchmark Review).
Job seekers also feel the agriculture industry is more stable (46%) or as stable (41%) as other industries, according to the last Job Seeker Survey. The reports referenced are available on the Market Research page at . Data for the new 2011 Agribusiness Job report is currently being analyzed and will be available soon. For additional information, please contact .

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