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Jobs in Agriculture

Written by Dennis Sun
Earlier this past week, I came across an interesting article in the latest issue of Beef magazine, written by its editor, Joe Roybal, on the topic of jobs in agriculture, where he mainly discussed jobs in agriculture for those who are just out of school.
    What got my attention was at the beginning of the article, where he quoted a report that listed the five “most useless” college degrees. The report stated that agriculture ranked first, animal science ranked fourth and horticulture was fifth, followed by fashion design and theater. I’ve always liked Beef magazine and still do, but for one moment it went sailing across the room. I realized Beef magazine didn’t have anything to do with the report, but it was a day or two before I finished the article.  
    Common sense tells us that agriculture is not going away. In fact, it has to grow, if the prediction about the world population expanding to over nine billion by the year 2050 is true. As Beef magazine says, “By some projections, humans will have to double agriculture output in order to meet the food and fiber needs of the year 2050, and largely to do it on the same land base.”
    When one considers all of the acres taken out of production each year for development, commerce, roads and other uses, agriculture production will have to be a lot more efficient. Then, factor in all of the needs of wildlife – those that are protected and those that are on the bubble, and then all of the rest and their habitat. It will be one crowded planet. So, you tell me that we don’t need excellent young minds, some fresh out of college, helping to solve the issues.
    I believe we have already started the process here in Wyoming, as our range classes and the related majors, such as water and reclamation, are the highest in the nation. If a potential student is looking for scholarship monies, the UW College of Agriculture and Natural Resources is the place to be, both now and in the future. And, as I said a while back, don’t forget about our community colleges as a great place to start, if that is your choice.
    The Beef article has some great statistics that prove agriculture is a great place for future jobs, saying, “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 learn that the average starting salary for a graduate in the ag industry is almost $49,000.”
    And yes, we will still need young minds who produce cattle, sheep and horses and publish a weekly ag newspaper. Data suggests that “81 percent of the jobs in the ag industry require education beyond high school, and almost half require at least a bachelor’s degree.” The report says that, even today with high unemployment, ag-related jobs are numerous and are expected to stay high in the future.
    So, tell our young people out there to stay in agriculture, where the future is great and getting better.  
    Dennis