James H. Jensen, Field Specialist-Farm Management, Southeast Area
Agriculture is in a period of rapid growth as the bio-economies popularity increases and the money invested in the agricultural sector does likewise. High grain prices encourage farmers to increase production and to bid up the value of cash rents and land prices. Those same high grain prices make livestock production unprofitable at the present time but still give Iowa the comparative advantage in livestock production. All of this interest and activity points to more capital and jobs in agriculture and the need to recruit and train the type of workers needed as the sector expands to meet the bio-fuel challenge.
Iowa State University has the capacity and the resources to train the needed agricultural workers in the expanding agricultural sector. It not only can provide workers for the bio-fuel industry but also for crop production, marketing, sales, livestock production, engineering jobs that are related to the present boon in agriculture. More workers and research are needed in utilizing the by-products of bio-fuel production. High school students are looking for career roads and thus are a good place to explain the agricultural job market and to showcase ISU as the place to obtain the appropriate training. A daylong event was held at the ISU Southeast Research Farm to acquaint local high school students with possible agriculture careers that might be of interest to them. Career choices were not limited to production agriculture but covered all phases of related fields including bio-technology, marketing, livestock production, and more. Local and regional businesses had displays and made presentations. There were also interactive workshops that let students sample some of the possible fields. ISU also provided information on attending the college, possible majors, and future compensation levels.
The event was well attended with 130 students, parents, and presenters. There were 84 student recruitment cards filled out and sent into campus. The students were shown the promising jobs that presently exist in agriculture and the best place to obtain the training needed to land those jobs. The majority of those students attending are planning to go to college and ISU certainly had a golden opportunity to influence their decision.
120 Farm and Business Management
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June 13, 2008
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