Job Opportunities Abound for Ag Grads

With the nationwide unemployment rate hovering above 9 percent, many new and recent college graduates are struggling to find jobs in their chosen fields. But graduates in food, agricultural, and environmental sciences are in demand, according to Associate Dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences Marcos Fernandez.

Citing a recently released study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Fernandez, who was a consultant for the study, noted that about 54,400 jobs will be available each year between 2010 and 2015 for individuals with degrees related to food, renewable energy, and the environment. However, there will only be enough agriculture and natural resources graduates to fill 54 percent of these positions.

Pie chart showing job opportunities (courtesy of USDA)“This means that employers will have to turn to graduates in allied fields such as biological and health sciences, engineering, business, and communications to fill most of the remaining openings,” said Fernandez.

Of the 54,400 projected annual ag-related jobs, 74 percent will be in business and science occupations, 15 percent will be in agriculture and forestry production occupations, and 11 percent will be in education, communications, and governmental services occupations, according to the study.

Fernandez said that this diversity of career opportunities and the need for well-prepared graduates with a solid grounding in science has begun to attract more students to the College of Agricultural Sciences. “After a decade of declining enrollments, the college has seen a roughly 30 percent increase in the number of undergraduates since 2005,” he said. “Our students know that we can prepare them to take what they learn here and apply it to real-world situations to help people and improve their communities and the world around them.”

Source: Employment Opportunities for College Graduates, USDA, 2010