News Release | December 8, 2016 | Read Time: 4 minutes
AG Industry Adds Nearly 60,000 Jobs Annually, Yet Study Shows Only Three Percent of High School and College Students Are Aware of Job Prospects
ST. LOUIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--
While agriculture has become a hot sector for job growth (USDA
Employment Opportunities Report, 2015), a just-released survey shows
only 13 percent of high school and college students are interested in
pursuing a career in the agriculture industry – and just 3 percent can
identify it as one of the best fields for college graduates.
The survey, sponsored by America’s Farmers Grow Ag Leaders, a Monsanto
Fund program, was conducted in November, a time when many high school
students are completing college applications in advance of January 1,
2017, deadlines and as future college graduates are applying for jobs.
Fewer than one in five (19 percent) surveyed indicated that they
understood the broad array of career opportunities in agriculture. In
fact, the agriculture space is experiencing job growth. According to the
USDA, 57,900 high-skilled jobs are created annually in food,
agriculture, renewable natural resources and environmental fields in the
The survey identified several misconceptions that contributed to the
findings. For example, only 35 percent of high school and college
students believed careers in agriculture were technology-driven.
“One of the program’s goals is to support future agriculture leaders by
helping them to understand the wide array of opportunities in
agriculture, from business and communications to science, technology and
many other fields,” said Al Mitchell, Monsanto Fund president. “For
example, whether you visit a family farm or a corporate operation, you
will see growers utilizing technology in exciting ways many students may
be unaware of, such as global-positioning systems, state-of-the-art soil
quality tools and weather forecasting devices to maximize every
square-inch of land. But technology-related jobs are just one avenue
that students can pursue with careers in agriculture.”
Erickson Research collected data from a total of 1,000 respondents and
analyzed the results. When asked to share their interest in working in
various industries, 45 percent of respondents were “extremely or very
interested” in a career in technology, followed by 40 percent exhibiting
the same level interest for a career in arts/entertainment, 35 percent
for a career in healthcare, and just 13 percent for a career in
To raise awareness of the job prospects in agriculture, the Monsanto
Fund supports the America’s
Farmers Grow Ag Leaders program, which will award more than $500,000
dollars in scholarships to students across the country in 2017.
The scholarships are open to students in eligible counties who are
looking to enroll or are enrolled in trade schools, community colleges
and four-year universities. Scholarships are awarded in $1,500
increments to students pursuing an education in an ag-related field of
study. Fields include: farming, agronomy, education, science,
technology, engineering, business, communications, among many others.
Since the program began in 2014, the America’s Farmers Ag Leaders
program has awarded nearly $1.2 million in scholarships to promising
students pursuing their education in agriculture.
Students under the age of 23 can enroll in the America’s Farmers Grow Ag
Leaders scholarship program from now through Feb. 1, 2017. Online
enrollment, as well as a complete list of program rules and eligibility
information, can be found at www.GrowAgLeaders.com.
Additionally, more information about the program can be found at facebook.com/AmericasFarmers.
About America’s Farmers
The America’s Farmers campaign highlights the importance of modern US
Agriculture through communications and community outreach programs that
partner with farmers to impact rural America. To learn more, visit
America’s Farmers at www.AmericasFarmers.com.
About the Monsanto Fund
The Monsanto Fund, the philanthropic arm of Monsanto Company, is a
nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening the communities where
farmers and Monsanto Company employees live and work. Visit the Monsanto
Fund at www.monsantofund.org.
About the Survey
The survey was conducted to understand high school and college students’
perceptions about the job market and careers in agriculture. Data was
collected between November 10 and November 16, 2016. A total of 1,004
subjects between the ages of 13 and 25 participated in the online
survey, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.