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Agrimarketing : Career Supplement USA
7 many additional facets to businesses within agriculture. There are sales representatives, human resource managers, financial analysts, research scientists, truck drivers, mill wrights, veterinarians, and so many more. Rick Parker, AgrowKnowledge Director, said the greatest challenge without question is getting young people and their parents to see agri- culture as more than "cows, plows, and sows." "People in general have a limited vision and understanding of the scope of modern agriculture," says Parker. Similarly, Gaul expressed the same frustration. "Without a doubt, the biggest challenge about enticing young people to pursue a career in agriculture is getting students to look beyond the 'cows, plows, and sows' stereotype association with agricultural careers. The average person has no idea of the diversity of majors and careers associated with this industry as well as the signifi- cant role agriculture plays in our daily lives." OUTLOOK When looking at job opportunities on AgCareers.com there are more than 60 industry types to choose from and over 70 career types that jobs are currently being categorized under. What does the outlook look like for you as a college student? "Most all areas of agriculture look very promising for students entering this industry," says Gaul. "But a few I think that hold tremen- dous potential include agronomy, food science, agricultural education, ag business as well as careers requir- ing strong science backgrounds relevant to biotechnology and biore- newables. Job placement remains strong and this is comforting news for college graduates entering the 'doom and gloom' of the real world!" Beyond the sheer need for agri- cultural jobs, Gaul attributes some of the potential due to many sectors within agriculture being top-heavy with the "Boomer" generation, which will allow today's students to climb the corporate ladder faster than any previous generation. Obvi- ously, potential for growth in a com- pany is one of many reasons stu- dents should be excited about jobs in agriculture. BRIGHT CAREERS Parker, who works with one and two year degree programs through his work with AgrowKnowledge, shared that bright careers are present in agriculture, food and natural resources for those with technical education such as one or two-year certificates and degrees. These include, agronomy, green agricul- ture, environmental, sustainable agriculture, biotech, food safety, geospatial, and renewable energy. Roberts shares the importance of joining networks to further your experience and education and said that learning from those in the busi- ness is the best way to do so. Joining organizations like the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA), American Agricultural Editors Association, the Interna- tional Federation of Agricultural Journalists and Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT) are four groups specific to agricultural communications stu- dents. There are groups such as these for all focuses within agriculture. "If I was a young professional or upcoming student, I would do all I could to align with these types of organizations that focus on profes- sional development and life-long learning," says Roberts. Careers in agriculture offer a wide variety, but also are very rewarding. The stereotype is that careers in agri- culture offer limited pay and require a lot of hard work. Hard work is part of all jobs no matter the industry, and yes, there are some professions that require addi- tional work during particular sea- sons. But, employers have gotten cre- ative in how they reward staff or help manage those peak seasons to appeal to a wider audience of job seekers. In terms of agriculture not paying well, talking with professionals within the industry in all varieties of career types and industry sectors, rarely will you hear bad pay being of concern. The agriculture industry as a whole has gotten better at being com- petitive with pay and/or offering additional benefits and perks --- it has been necessary to recruit and retain the best and brightest talent. "Are career opportunities in agriculture rewarding? Yes, absolutely," said Parker. "First, it means being involved in the most basic and most noble of all the professions --- feeding and clothing people. Second, agriculture is rewarding because of the variety of career opportunities. And third, being in most aspects of agriculture today means using the latest tech- nology to improve how the world is fed and clothed." Parker, who is a 40+ year veteran to the industry, says when asked where his passion comes from when working to help recruit new young people into the industry is that it is from the many employment oppor- tunities he's held that have allowed him to work with the best people. He says that he'd like new recruits to the industry to have that opportunity in their lifetime. He also said that his passion stems from making sure the food and fiber system is in reliable hands that will keep it moving for- ward and secure in coming years. EXCITEMENT "For me it is the constant excitement of the news that is always present within agriculture," explains Roberts of his passion for agricultural jour- nalism. "It is always constant and is such an exciting industry to be a part of. There is great interest in agricul- ture research that is being done and how it can impact the lives of people and how we communicate that. "When you can make the link for people between agriculture, food, environment and health, you've got people right where you want them." There are plenty of opportunities within the agriculture industry for you and your peers. Be proud to be a part of an industry that helps feed and clothe the world. Advocate to others about the rewarding careers in agriculture and how agriculture is making its mark on the world. Encourage a friend to consider a career in agriculture. And, together we can continue to grow an industry full of innovation, dedication, and top talent that will take this world to new heights!