Ag Faces Workforce Challenges, Too

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As the first Governor's Agriculture Conference wraps up today in Indianapolis, programs throughout the state are forming to develop the next generation of industry leaders. Indiana Youth Institute President Bill Stanczykiewicz says, however, the push to get young people interested in agricultural careers is a challenge. He was joined by Indianapolis-based National FFA Organization Chief Operating Officer Josh Bledsoe on a recent edition of Inside INdiana Business Television. Bledsoe says there are more than 300 careers available that help move goods from "farm to fork," including marketing, computer science, finance and genetics. He says the need to fill positions throughout the world is great and will continue to grow. By 2050, the global population will exceed 9 billion and U.S. Department of Agriculture research suggests that over the next 35 years, more food will need to be produced than over the previous 10,000 years combined.

Bledsoe says that production will have to be driven by science, law, technology and communications interests all working together.

Stanczykiewicz says it's important to emphasize to students that careers at major ag-related companies including Atlanta-based Beck's Hybrids, Elanco in Greenfield and Indianapolis-based Dow AgroSciences involve a multitude of skill sets.

He says for too long, efforts to grow interest in agriculture careers have been overshadowed by pushed toward other industries.

Stanczykiewicz adds institutions like Purdue University, Ivy Tech and Huntington University are all expanding educational opportunities in agriculture.

Source: Inside INdiana Business