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Selling Ag to Those Outside the Industry
By Kristine Penning,


While attending my very first FFA meeting as a freshman in high school, 10+ years ago, I remember glancing toward a classmate I knew was an in-town resident and probably knew very little about agriculture. I remember wondering why she was there. Was she chasing a farm boy? To my surprise, that classmate of mine became very active in the FFA chapter and competed with me on the soil judging team as well as speaking contests. We studied plant science and agribusiness alongside one another. However, her plans for her future led her away from the industry.


Reflecting on my first judgment of my high school classmate from years before, thinking that there was no way she could possibly be interested in agriculture, I think about how often I mislabeled those around me throughout high school and my peers at the small liberal arts college I attended as “non-ag.” But they very well could have been. What was preventing me from sharing the prospect and excitement of agricultural careers with them?


Categorizing people into categories of “ag people” and “non-ag people” certainly didn’t help the matter. Even veterans of the agricultural industry are no stranger to pigeon-holing others as “ag” and “non-ag.” “City folks just don’t get it,” we mutter, like we’re quoting a commercial. Perhaps not-so-strangely similarly to how some ag industry veterans may not realize how women fit in or what they bring to agriculture. Or how other surface and opinionated differences divide us from willingly talking about agriculture itself, let alone the opportunities for fulfilling careers in agriculture.


The fact of the matter is, we need agricultural careers. You’ve heard it said that we need to feed millions of people, but we also need to satisfy changing taste buds and produce much more with much less while minimizing negative effects to the environment. The careers needed to solve these challenging tasks at hand will need to be filled by people from all walks of life and all backgrounds. We need secondary students in urban atmospheres who have never been to a farm but are curious about science. We need high school students who think that agriculture is nothing more than farming but want to make a difference in the world. We need college students pursuing degrees and majors outside of agriculture like accounting and engineering to realize the potential they could achieve in the agricultural realm.


Realizing the growing need for agricultural careers, has created the Careers in Agriculture E-Book to share widely with those we can influence now. It’s as easy as clicking “send” on an email. This E-Book was designed to reach students and young professionals from all backgrounds easily and effectively. All pages of the e-book are equipped with vibrant photos, videos, and discussion from agriculturalists. Accessible easily by just a link, the e-book can be shared via email or social media (find a guide for sharing the E-Book via social media here). We invite you to consider even making the link accessible on your website.


We have created two versions of the e-book. One includes the Career Profiles and one does not. It is recommended that the Career Profiles version is shared with middle and high school students as well as beginning college students while the version without the Career Profiles is shared with individuals already set on their career path such as advanced college students and young professionals.


Access the E-Book WITH Career Profiles here.


Access the E-Book WITHOUT Career Profiles here.


Agricultural careers are just as important to advocate for as agriculture itself. Consider sharing this digital e-book with your talent pool and your colleagues. Because we need agricultural careers.