As a high school freshman attending my first FFA meeting, I remember glancing toward a classmate I knew lived in town and likely knew nothing about agriculture. I thought, I wonder what she’s doing here. Is she chasing a farm boy? She was a successful and popular student that excelled in all sports; what interest did she have in agriculture? To my surprise, that classmate of mine ended up teaming up with me on soil judging and multiple speaking contests as well as studying both plant science and agribusiness in agricultural education courses alongside me. While she became quite active in the FFA chapter and agricultural classes in high school, her future endeavors eventually led her away from any prospect of an agricultural career.
As I sat down to write this blog meant to discuss AgCareers.com’s new Careers in Agriculture E-Book, I couldn’t help but think about my initial judgment of her, thinking she couldn’t possibly have any interest in agriculture or agricultural careers. It’s how I looked at most of my classmates and peers in high school as well as college that weren’t from a farming background, especially at the small liberal arts college I went on to attend (perhaps someone could have labelled me similarly to how I labeled my classmate, after all). But what was stopping me from discussing with them the opportunity of pursuing agricultural careers?
Knowledge, likely. I myself didn’t really see, even after taking numerous agricultural education courses, how my interests could be applied to agriculture when I graduated from high school and first entered college. I knew I loved to write and I was interested in art. How could that possibly fit into agriculture? Not understanding the fact that I could, and would, go on to pursue my interests in the agricultural field prohibited me from showing others how they could do the same.
But reverting back to the initial cause of my failure to share agricultural careers with others, pigeon-holing people into categories of “ag people” and “non-ag people” didn’t help the matter either. Even veterans of the agricultural industry are no stranger to pigeon-holing and stereotyping others as “ag” and “non-ag.” “They just don’t get it,” we say of city folks, like a FarmersOnly.com commercial. Perhaps not-so-strangely similar to how some in the industry still don’t see how women fit into agriculture. Or how racial and lifestyle differences separate us from being willing to share agricultural careers with others.
Maybe it’s just the fact that we’re too busy to even try. Hey, if you work in any field unlike mine (directly related to agricultural careers), you may be thinking that it’s not even your job to spread and promote agricultural careers.
The fact of the matter is, we need agricultural careers. For so many reasons from addressing the top-of-mind issue of hunger to solving complex problems related to food supply, changing tastes, disease, and natural resources. To fill the careers needed to solve these problems and support the industry as a whole, we need individuals from all backgrounds and all interests. We need middle school students in Chicago and New York City who have never been to a farm but have a passion for science. We need high school students in rural areas who have never thought of agriculture as anything BUT farming. We need college students pursuing business and engineering degrees to make the connections between their education goals and the potential that the agricultural industry could hold for them.
Seeing this need, we at AgCareers.com created the Careers in Agriculture E-Book to help with these barriers to sharing agricultural careers with others. Now, as easy as sending an email, you can share knowledge of the variety of agricultural careers with students and young professionals previously pigeon-holed into the “non ag” category without breaking your too-busy schedule. This E-Book was created especially for the purpose of reaching students and young professionals from all backgrounds easily and effectively. All pages of the e-book are equipped with striking visuals and commentary from real agriculturalists regarding how everyone can find a place in agriculture. Videos and outbound links for further reading are also included. Accessible by a simple link, the e-book is easily shareable via email or social media (find a guide for sharing the E-Book via social media here as well as conveniently created social media graphics). We invite you to consider even making the link accessible on your website.
We have created two versions of the e-book. One includes the AgCareers.com Career Profiles and one does not. It is recommended that the Career Profiles version is shared with middle and high school students as well as beginning college students while the version without the Career Profiles is shared with individuals already set on their career path such as advanced college students and young professionals.
Access the E-Book WITH Career Profiles here.
Access the E-Book WITHOUT Career Profiles here.
As agricultural advocates, we should also advocate for agricultural careers. Please share this digital e-book with your talent pool, your colleagues, your students, your friends. Because we need agricultural careers.