Commentary: Will Ag Degree Grads Have Job Offers?

February 11, 2016 12:11 PM
Commentary: Will Ag Degree Grads Have Job Offers?

Speculation about the future of agricultural jobs has been pervasive with the recent announcements of mergers and acquisitions. As the parent companies of the big companies in the crop protection and seed businesses cut jobs by the thousands (Dow, DuPont, Monsanto), the questions is how will this impact the job availability for new college grads planning to enter the agricultural field.

All the talk in recent years has been about the lack of employees trained to enter agricultural jobs from crop consulting to research and development of new products. Colleges have been gearing up new programs, trying to convince non-ag background high school students to attend college for an agricultural degree with the reward dangled in front of them of a high paying job waiting for them at graduation.

Examples continue to come in. A University of Wisconsin news release this week noted its new offering of a master’s degree in biotechnology, which has been a need to fill in agricultural companies. As the announcement noted, “As biological technologies penetrate ever more broadly across the economy, the University of Wisconsin-Madison is preparing adult students to capitalize on the trend through a career-changing master’s degree in biotechnology.” It is a four semester evening and weekend classes program.

Ag companies making layoffs aren’t ready as yet to explain if a majority of the layoffs are coming from non-ag degree job holders or up and down the agricultural divisions’ operating units. 


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