4 Reasons to consider a career in agriculture

By Susan Pohorski

Even if you don’t live on a farm or in a rural community, your children could choose agribusiness as a career. Why should they consider a career related to agriculture? This past week I attended the National Ag Day celebration at Southwest Wisconsin Technical College (SWTC) and here is what I learned:

1.  Variety of related careers   Agriculture is more than milking cows and driving a tractor. According to Ben Brancel, secretary of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection for Wisconsin, there are 400 different types of jobs in the state’s agriculture industry. The Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources career cluster includes many exciting and interesting occupations. These career choices involve everything from science, to finance, to marketing and sales, to equipment repair and maintenance. The whyag.com website helps match interests and skills to the multitude of job titles related to agriculture.

Students looking at engine. Southwest Wisconsin Technical College students inspect the engine of a piece of farm equipment.

2.  Important to our economy  At the Ag Day celebration Governor Scott Walker reminded the audience that agriculture has a $60 billion impact on the Wisconsin economy. “We need people with training and expertise to be innovators and to continue to fuel and grow Wisconsin’s economy,” Walker said. Brancel mentioned the 354,000 people directly employed in agriculture activities in the state. Many communities thrive because of the ag-related businesses that serve farm families.

3.  Lots of jobs   One out of every 10 jobs in Wisconsin is related to agriculture. Wisconsin’s farms not only feed citizens of the state. Food products produced here feed people all over the world. As the demand for agricultural products grows, so does the demand for employees in agriculture-related businesses. Production has increased dramatically because of advances in science and technology. Those advances call for educated people. Many technical colleges are struggling to produce enough graduates to meet employer demand in agriculture. We need more people to enter this industry.

4.  Rewarding field of work  Putting food on family tables is noble work. Today, there are 7 billion people to feed on our planet. By 2050 there will be 9.3 billion. What could be more rewarding than to know that what you do every day helps feed people around the world?Child sitting at empty plate with knife and fork

The next time you eat a meal, talk with your children about where their food comes from. Tell them about what is involved in producing food products and consider touring a cheese production facility. When you drive by a farm engage them in a discussion of what farm life is like. Take your kids to a county fair or the state fair and make sure they visit the animal barns. When you are grocery stopping with them, make note of products you buy that are produced in Wisconsin. You will give them another career option to consider for their future and for the future of Wisconsin.

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