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Friday, January 20, 2012

Agricultural Careers

Yesterday an article posted by Terence Loose on Useless Agriculture Careers gained a good deal of notoriety on twitter and maybe a number of other places.  It seemed that some of us in agriculture took offense that he was singling out our careers as worthless.  Maybe he was but I don't think so.  He was just looking at some job growth projections that were negative.  I think the projections were based on flawed logic rather than on any real notion of what is going on in the world. 

Farming is getting more complex by the day.  New technology comes out that looks promising, but we can't even find vendors who understand the equipment.  Precision ag vendors just don't have enough competent and technically savvy people to provide needed service.  Regulation seems to increase every time the Congress or state legislature is in session.  Often production agriculture people need extra help to comply with new regulations.

The logic that farmers need less help as they grow bigger is very flawed.  The new mega-farmers need more competent and well educated employees and consultants than ever.  The above photo is a picture of the office of The Maschoff's a huge hog production farm about 50 miles south of me.  Be sure to check out their careers tab.  When I looked, they had 80 items available not including internship opportunities.  Another bit of evidence concerning jobs in the ag sector was the fact that recent extension service meetings have been starting with a University of Illinois recruiting presentation.  They are recruiting students because they have more companies looking for competent students than they have students to fill the jobs.

Many others have posted compelling figures about the availability and viability of agricultural careers so I do not need to redo their work.  I respond to this article not because I am insulted, but because I want the United States to continue to have well educated agricultural researchers, consultants, and vendors so that we can continue to grow the least expensive food in the world.

What about developing countries?  As the world population continues to grow, we need to be able to give developing countries the best production techniques possible.  It is possible to implement modern practices even when using animals as the primary power source.  I am also located near Illinois Amish Country.  When I drive through that I area I am hard pressed to distinguish Amish farmed fields from others.  I know I could learn something from them.  I feel like I have much more to say, but I will leave it to some of the others who have also made well thought out responses to Mr. Loose.

Common Sense Agriculture tells us how to respond in a positive way.

Brandi Buzzard  a Kansas State Student has written a good article that contains contact information for Mr. Loose.

Allen S. Levine does a good job refuting the information about the specific targeted jobs.

Ryan Goodman admits that the article struck his emotions, but he goes on to share lots of facts. 

Jeremy Fair of the Farmer's Perspective makes some good points. 

1 comment:

Bose said...
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