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Huffington Post College - Where the Jobs Are: Migrate Back to the Farm or to Agriculture by Vermont Tech Prof. Chris Dutton

Monday, November 26, 2012

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Christopher Dutton, VMDChristopher Dutton, VMD, Professor of Agriculture, Vermont Technical College

Record high U.S. agricultural exports and a booming world population, as well as growing interest in the farm-to-table and sustainable living movements, are helping to create significant demand for skilled workers in every area of agriculture. From diversified farming and food production, to agricultural waste and energy production, opportunities as varied as working for a multinational agriculture company or starting your own ag-related business abound.
In the eight years I've been teaching ag courses, I've never seen greater demand for my graduating students entering the workforce, or the range of entrepreneurial ventures they are launching. Some stats to consider:
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has projected a need for more than 54,000 new undergraduates annually to work in agriculture through 2015 -- and even more beyond.
  • The United Nations has projected the world population to grow to over nine billion people by 2050. In 2009 President Obama launched with other G-8 Leaders the "Agriculture and Food Security Initiative" collectively committing $22 billion in new investments in agriculture and nutrition.
  • U.S. agricultural exports are expected to hit $143 billion in 2013 according to the Office of the United States Trade Representative.
Whether you're a college student or an adult looking to make a mid-career change, agriculture is a great profession to explore. My students who don't have family farms to go back to have on average seven to 10 jobs to choose from -- before graduation. For every job that comes their way, there are just as many viable entrepreneurial opportunities.

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