On April 27, I had the pleasure to virtually attend STEMConnector’s first #AGis Town Hall meeting live from Washington, D.C. STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) are critical career areas we at AgCareers.com frequently advocate for, and as supporters of STEMConnector, we eagerly share in VP/Chief Strategy Officer Ted Wells’ opening remarks: “Agriculture is critical in order to sustainably feed the world.” And what better way to do this than to pursue careers in STEM?
Kevin O’Sullivan, Vice President of Global Equipment and Engineering Technologies at PepsiCo, opened the seminar by sharing, “There’s a stigma attached to food and agriculture; instead of thinking about seed and farms and tractors, we should be thinking about robots and drones and science and technology.” There will certainly always be a place for the top-of-mind elements of agriculture, but as the industry continues to progress, it’s plain to see that agriculture is steeped in technology and scientific advancement.
Dr. Rob Fraley, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for Monsanto, echoed O’Sullivan’s statements: “Students today just don’t understand the excitement of bringing STEM into the food chain and agriculture.” He gave the example that, “a tractor today has more computer power in it than the first spaceship that went to the moon. Farmers already have self-driving tractors.
“There will be 10 billion people in the world by 2050. We need to do a lot more to meet feeding those people. We have to produce 100% more chickens, 50 or 60% more pigs. We have to double the food supply between now and 2050. We have to produce more food than there has ever been produced in the history of the world. We’ll have to do it using less water and less land. We have to have better and more efficient farming practices. If we’re smart, we can take the land that we have and use it for more. We may even give some back and convert to wetlands.”
With these statements to consider, how might we begin to help students understand the exciting opportunities available to them in agricultural STEM? New and more diverse opportunities exist today in bettering our old agricultural practices to more effectively and less expensively feed the world. There are exciting opportunities for YOU to engage in and become a part of this meaningful and well-paying industry. Learn about more than 200 opportunities in agriculture from AgCareers.com’s Career Profiles. Remember that no matter what your agricultural career path may be, you are making a difference by simply working in the world’s most important industry.
From Fraley: “Food security is real from a hunger and nutritional insecurity perspective. Everything we invest for food security is a double win, because it’s also an incentive to improve the environment. Participate and consider the career opportunities. Take the challenge to walk down the path and see what a career in the ag and food chain could look like. Nothing could be more important than a career where you are providing food security.”