I have been trained as an agriculture education teacher, though I don’t spend my days in a classroom. Still, bringing up the next generation of agriculture professionals is a task that remains near and dear to my heart.
When I get the opportunity to talk to junior high or high school students, I still highlight the potential of agriculture.
- Agriculture is the top employer in many states, including Illinois where it provides more than 700,000 jobs.
- Illinois did almost six billion dollars of export business related to agriculture. Frankly, people are always going to need to eat and that economic driver isn’t going away.
- When you’re in agriculture, you’re either creating wealth or supporting those that create wealth. Think about it … in what other industry do you start with something as small as a seed, something nature provided, and literally create wealth? Agriculture truly is the industry from which all others spring.
And here’s the really cool thing: it’s an industry that has a job for everyone, regardless of your interest. There are over 300 careers in the industry and I’m guessing more are created yearly as our technology advanced. Yes, if you have any skills at all, you can most likely use them in agriculture.
Are you an artist? Consider graphic arts, website design, or marketing. Every day, I work with an excellent artist that designs our advertisements and communications to membership. I also work with other talented artists creating infographics that support our industry and logos that bring us into the current century.
Are you a mathematician? Every farm, every farm association, every farm business needs accountants. And many of those hire statisticians as well to analyze important data.
Do you excel in the sciences? Agriculture has opportunities in genetics, biochemistry, veterinary sciences, and a myriad of others. In fact, agriculture IS science, so your opportunities here are endless.
Do you enjoy writing? Photography? You might be a fit for agriculture communications. The need for excellent communicators in the ag industry is growing as farmers seek to reach out and reconnect with non-farmers for the first time in decades.
Are you a people person? Enjoy talking and visiting? You might be a great fit for sales. Agriculture has seed salesmen, equipment salesmen, fertilizer salesmen, and many others. And I can tell you first hand that farmers are a great group to chat with!
Ag has opportunities in engineering, law, technical writing, laboring, health, education, biology … the possibilities really are endless.
If you are a student looking for a place to fit, consider agriculture. You just might have more in common with the people that grow your food than you think.