Bill Stanczykiewicz, president and CEO of the Indiana Youth Institute, recently published an Op-Ed in the IndyStar online. Below are some excerpts from his article:
According to the Indiana Department of Agriculture, farming is a $25 billion industry, the fourth largest industry in our state’s economy. Agriculture employs nearly 600,000 people. That’s 15 percent of Indiana’s work force. However, the number of farm-related jobs in Indiana is expected to drop by 11 percent over the next 10 years. That’s not because people will eat less, but because of efficiencies created by technology…
For the next generation, the premium is on proper preparation for a career in agriculture. Whether the future job is in business or manufacturing, in life sciences or farming, there is significant value in earning a college education.
In preparation for college, some Indiana high schools offer Core 40 curriculum on agricultural subjects. The course lists include Fundamentals of Agriculture, Plant and Soil Science, Farm Management, and Agricultural Mechanization, which covers everything from traditional mechanical skills like fixing a diesel engine to cutting-edge “precision farming” that uses GPS technology.
Consider the career Web site of FFA. According to FFA, the following jobs require at least a two-year associate’s degree: farmer; grain farmer; vegetable farmer; cattle rancher; and chemical applicator. This is not your grandfather’s farm.
Stanczykiewicz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We encourage you to share your thoughts about the future of agriculture in your state. Post a comment for Bill here.