Find Your Future In Agriculture
By Christine White, Director, Education Division, National FFA Organization
By the year 2050, the global population will reach over 9 billion people—and will depend on the industry of agriculture for its survival. A greater demand to produce nutritious food without additional resources will be one of the biggest challenges agriculture will face, and we need skilled, talented individuals to be the innovators and problem solvers of the future.
However, the outlook is staggering. In the next five years, nearly 60,000 job openings will be available annually, and 22,500 of those jobs will not have the highly skilled graduates to fill them i . With demand high, the need to help educate students on the various careers within agriculture is critical.
Each year, teachers across the nation work with students to begin exploring careers in multiple fields of study. These activities focus on interests, educational requirements, individual job accountabilities and expected salaries. Often, teachers and students have overlooked careers in agriculture because of the stigma that these careers only relate to production agriculture.
Welcome to AgExplorer, a new career exploration website launched last fall by the National FFA Organization, in partnership with Discovery Education. AgExplorer, available at AgExplorer.com, is a robust, comprehensive career resource to help students explore the broad range of careers within agriculture.
The featured agricultural careers fit within nine exciting career focus areas: agribusiness; animal; biotechnology; environmental service; food products and processing; natural resources; plant; power, structural and technical; and agricultural education. The website features 235 unique career profiles that include a description, typical responsibilities, job outlook, educational requirements, average salary, and links to a college and career database as well as a live job feed. More career profiles will be added this summer.
AgCareers.com, the strategic career success partner for the National FFA Organization, worked with industry leaders to identify unduplicated careers in agriculture and developed profiles for each career. AgCareers.com also maintains a database of all two- and four-year colleges and universities that offer some type of agricultural degree; this database is linked to each career profile.
In addition to the career profiles, AgExplorer features nine videos that highlight how each of the career focus areas support the global solution to feeding the world.
AgExplorer also offers the Career Finder, an interactive assessment tool designed to help students match careers with their interests. The agricultural career profiles are searchable and filterable to allow users to find careers using terms and categories that appeal to them.
Teachers and students can also take virtual field trips and hear from experts who work in the industry. The first field trip featured Ford Motor Company and a behind-the-scenes look at how a veterinarian’s vehicle was manufactured. Upcoming 2017 and 2018 field trips will include Cargill, CSX, Zoetis and John Deere and provide teachers with educational resources to enhance the experience in the classroom.
AgExplorer is not just for students and teachers; the site is open to anyone, particularly those not familiar with agriculture. Visit AgExplorer.com to explore the career profiles or tune into the virtual field trips. Accessing the Career Finder requires a login; click on the Sign In/Register button to set up a community account to take the assessment.
Agriculture can open a world of possibilities, and the demand for professionals in every agricultural area is high. Careers may have you using advanced equipment, creating new hybrid seeds, raising animals, managing people or designing new products and packaging. Whether your interests lie in biology, carpentry, chemistry, computers, the environment, finances, genetics, health, nutrition, statistics or welding, there is a career in agriculture for you! Learn more about which career may be right for you by visiting AgExplorer.com.
i United States Department of Agriculture. Newsroom Press Release. (2015, May 11). One of the best fields for new college graduates? Agriculture. Retrieved from USDA: National Institute of Food and Agriculture.