Did you know that we are only able to fill about 60% of the open jobs in the food and agriculture industry each year with students graduating from colleges of agriculture? The result—we need young adults who are not majoring in agriculture to consider agriculture careers! That’s why 14 Ohio State students, part of the Kellogg-Moser Food Security and Sustainability Learning Community, were encouraged to consider careers in the food and agriculture industry in a recent event.

The community focuses on the topics of food security, community engagement, leadership, and sustainability by challenging students to address the issues related to creating secure, resilient and sustainable food systems in environmentally and socially responsible ways. The students visited Ohio Soybean Council member Bill Bayliss’s farm in Mansfield to learn firsthand about modern agriculture, with topics focused on technology, nutrient management and sustainability, international trade, GMOs, and careers. The event was coordinated by FLM/Harvest and sponsored by Ohio Soybean Council as part of their “Future Eats” campaign. The campaign targets young adults, informing them about how the food they consume is produced and why certain practices are used.

As part of a discussion, the students listed careers related to what they had seen on the farm that day. Answers ranged from ‘drone operator’ to ‘loan officer’ to ‘food scientist’. Then, EducationProjects.org’s Dustin Homan presented the youth with scenarios and asked them to sort through a set of agricultural career cards to identify which careers would be related to different scenarios. For example, one scenario read, “You are the lead on a grant proposal to USAID to improve food security in a developing nation. You can have a maximum of 10 partners. Who do you choose and why?” The career cards, created in conjunction with OSU Extension, are designed to help students see how vast is the field food and agriculture careers, and how people in different careers are needed to address local and global issues.

Ohio Soybean Council staff members Jennifer Coleman and Julia Brown shared their career paths with the group. Though neither majored in agriculture, they both found jobs they enjoy in the agricultural industry.

This activity will be posted soon on GrowNextGen.org—stay tuned for it!