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Agriculture and Nonconformity: A thread that binds us

Posted by Edward Romero on December 1st, 2010

Photo by Pave M.

Thanks for your patience. It’s been way too long since my last blog post, and yet, you are gracious enough to stop by and read this latest post. For those of you who follow, thanks for the continued support.

For those of you who just stumbled into the AgForLife blog for the very first time, I would encourage you to sign up with the RSS Feed, which you can find at the upper left part of the page. For those of you who read my blogs (when I post), share it with your friends. Post it on Twitter. Share it on Facebook. Help me get the AgForLife name out there.

I am not even sure where I should start since I have so many things I want to say, but here we go…

Since my last post, I have traveled, moderated a panel for college students from all over the country, started a new project,  which we will be announcing the first quarter of 2011, and yet, I feel like I have let all my readers down by not posting religiously like I was told I should.

So be it…not because I don’t value those who support AgForLife, but because I am not the typical blogger who posts at designated days or times of the week. I believe you should blog when you have something important to say or share, not just blog because it’s “cool” to do so like the zillion other bloggers posting on the internet with useless content.

I, like many others, subscribe to a number of different blogs that I read often, for the most part, when they publish their blogs.  In doing so, I am going to do something I rarely do – endorse someone who inspires me.

Chris doesn’t even know me. We’ve never met. He doesn’t even know I exist. But Chris is an inspiration to me. Chris talks about different things but for the most part, his blog is centered around three areas: Life, Work, and Travel.

Oh and did I mention, he helps people take over the world. (His words, not mine!)

You see, he’s traveled to 150 countries and counting. No, he’s not an inspiration because of his travels. He’s an inspiration because his writes about The Art of Non-Conformity. Yeah, that’s right, non-conforming; unconventional methods of work.

Chris defines nonconformity as “a lack of orthodoxy in thoughts or beliefs” or “the refusal to accept established customs, attitudes, or ideas.”

In his blogs he writes with “the conviction that you don’t have to live your life the way other people expect you to” which is refreshing and inviting. So many blogs out there are about status quo.

He also writes about entrepreneurship and unconventional work and stresses the importance of having fun while the work is meaningful.

And of course, he talks about his travels.

The real reason his posts are such an inspiration is because when we first started AgForLife, people doubted us. They didn’t or couldn’t see our vision. Some people still can’t.  People didn’t have faith in us. Even today, many people don’t think our approach is logical. And that’s okay.

I got tired of sharing our strategy. I got tired of people telling me it couldn’t be done. I countered…I think it can!  So we set out to try and make a positive impact in the agricultural industry.  I can honestly say, when I finished my doctorate, I never thought I would be the person in the driver’s seat. I naively thought someone else was already doing what we thought should be done.  But I guess I was wrong.

We’re not there yet, but everyday we move a little closer to achieving our business goals. I can’t tell you when we’ll get there, but I know everyday opens many new doors and those who are serious about helping, continue to find us.

You see…I am a realist at heart, but an optimist to the core. Today, I rarely share my strategies with anyone outside my support group, unless people are serious enough to want to learn more. I am told to ignore people who tell me “you can’t.” I think my supporters are right on!

So why am I telling you about Chris? Why am I telling you about my story?

Well, it’s simple. Chris is an inspiration because I believe like he does. I have come to the realization that I too look at unconventional ways at approaching a problem.  I guess you can say I am a non-conformist at heart. I see unconventional ways of approaching established customs or ideas in agriculture from a student recruitment perspective. The approach we are taking is unconventional – no doubt – but damn sure meaningful.

According to Jeffrey Gitomer, “every obstacle presents an opportunity, if you’re looking for it.” I think he’s right.

The challenge I am talking about is the lack of students entering agriculture and the many related fields of study available in many agricultural colleges across this country.  What’s even more sobering is the lack of minority students considering agriculture.

Where are they? Is any one addressing this issue? So far, I’ve yet to find anyone who dares say they do.

In 2008, only 1.49% of undergraduate students of the 16 million plus ENROLLED (not graduated) in 2-year and 4-year schools in the U.S., were studying agriculture or some related field. That’s a measly 251,000 students.

In that same year, of those 251,000 students in agriculture or some related field, only 4.5% (11.535) were Latino or Hispanic and Black student enrollment was not much better at 5.6% (13,972).

Is this a problem for agriculture – absolutely – especially with the rapidly changing demographics?  Is there an opportunity here to help out – you bet! As we continue working on our business model and product development, I am confident we will be able to make strides in helping students see the many opportunities in agriculture. It will take time, but I think we can do it, and in the end, we all win!

After all, Chris Guillebeau in his blog, The Art of Non-Conformity says we can; and that is good enough for me.

(more…)

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Agriculture and Wall Street

Posted by Eric Brenner on August 30th, 2010

When I was a teenager, I always thought of the stock market as a crowded place with a bunch of people screaming at each other. A place where millions were made and also where lost. I never imagined that inside all that apparent chaos there was actually a logical financial frame behind the scenes. Several business, economic, finance, and accounting college courses later, topped with constant reading of financial articles have given me enough background to understand the fundamentals of it.

I am most definitely not an expert in the matter, but I have enough understanding where I can give a watered-down explanation of how it works. In general, many people hear the term stock exchange, but don’t really understand what the stock exchange is all about. A stock exchange is an organization that brings together stockbrokers and traders by giving them facilities to trade stocks, other securities and other financial instruments. For many of you this is an obvious matter, but for those who did not know, this might sound a little bit abstract. I am not really going too deep into the subject but barely cover the surface to give you an idea how it works.

The stock exchange is very similar to a grocery store and the things you see inside. In a grocery store, you will find sections like the fresh meat and fresh fish sections, the produce section, the dry goods section, etc. People come to this place to buy and sell food items. The difference is that in a stock exchange, instead of sections, there are markets that trade non-tangible transferable goods, and the markets per se are essentially not physically present inside the building. A stock exchange is a virtual marketplace where sellers, the issuing corporations or organizations, and buyers or traders, conduct business. Even though, the stock exchange and a grocery store are somehow similar, the process behind the operation of the stock exchange is way more complex.

I don’t believe there is a single descriptor that could fairly explain a career in this type of environment. Professionals in this field describe it as dynamic, fast moving, rewarding, stressful, fulfilling, exciting, and amazing all at the same time. Generally, when we think about careers in this line of work, we are inclined to associate it with business, finance, management, and economic majors, but never or almost never with agriculture.

But how does agriculture relate to stock trading?

Agriculture is related to the stock market through commodities. Practically everything that comes out of the ground such as wheat, orange juice, gold, oil, grains, etc, can be classified as a commodity. People buy and sell commodities based on speculation which have the potential for huge returns with lower than average investment, but with a much higher risk for loss. The agriculture commodity venue requires experienced investors with solid knowledge in the agricultural field.

Agricultural specialists provide current and accurate information that can make all the difference whether buying or selling commodities. Some of the information comes from different sources of data, and some of the decisions are made by forecasting market behaviors based on criteria that could positively or negatively affect commodities. By collecting and disseminating the right information in a timely manner, commodity traders position themselves in today’s diverse agricultural markets to make decisions that can generate profit and greatly mitigate the chances for losses.

Some professionals believe that agricultural commodity trading should be classified as a stand-alone cluster within the trading management business because of the distinctive aspects found in similar businesses that trade other types of commodities. Certain factors like multiple quality characteristics, weather conditions, unexpected events – political and economical – can affect crops and can increase the level of risk and complexity that are not found in more standardized or generic products.

Commodity traders constantly need to adjust the approach to agricultural production, marketing, and distribution to be able to compete in national, regional, and international markets. Traditional commodities like bananas, coffee, and sugar are no longer assured of guaranteed prices and ready access to international markets. The decisions based on speculations and uncertainties for this market require agricultural based knowledge.

Agriculture has the potential to inject professionals beyond the traditional roles. However, the current rigid and obsolete recruiting structures in our industry are doing little to expand beyond the traditional areas. Most elementary, junior high, and high school students are unaware that Wall Street, the banking system, financial analysts, stock traders, lending institutions, financial institutions, commodity trading, investment banking, accounting firms, and many more jobs are reachable through agriculture majors like agribusiness, agriculture economics, agriculture development, and agriculture engineering, among others.

But why is it that potential agriculture students are not getting this kind of information early on in their formative years?

For starters, the industry has not actively engaged students to show them how diverse the industry really is. Second, school counselors usually are not aware of agriculture majors outside the production side, which limits students to certain areas in agriculture. Third, teachers are usually not aware about the broad spectrum of career paths students can pursue and are not encouraged to consider pathways outside of production agriculture. Even though the agriculture industry and universities are aware of this issue, there has not been a collective effort to revolutionize the way students are recruited into agriculture because of the incorrect perception, that agriculture is limited to farming of crops and raising livestock.

Changing people’s perspectives and the way they think about agriculture is not an easy task. Nevertheless, more than ever as an industry we need to creatively and innovatively find better ways to attract young talent. In order for our industry to grow, we have to break away from the status quo. AgForLife is committed to educate students, parents, teachers, and school counselors about career opportunities in the broad agricultural industry to encourage and recruit high school and college students to join food, and life sciences careers, and college majors that will provide rewarding and successful employment opportunities in the agriculture industry.

We have been getting a lot of positive feedback and are so pleased to know that so many people share our vision. We would be interested in hearing your story. What did you major in school? Was it in an agricultural related field? What job are you doing now or hope to do so in the future?  Share your message in the comment section and let us know or drop us a note on Facebook.

I wish you a great week. Until my next post, have a good one.

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Rethinking Agriculture

Posted by Eric Brenner on June 14th, 2010

Back when I was in high school, like many other students, I did not really know what career to pursue. My parents did not really care what I majored in, as long as I went to college; not going was simply not an option. But figuring out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life when I was 16 years old was not an easy endeavor.

But looking back, I was seriously struggling trying to find a career option that I felt passionate about. I looked for school counselors for guidance to help me figure out a career path. However, those options were limited and did not spark the smallest bit of interest. Counselors, teachers, friends, and even my parents always talked about majors like engineering or business management because that is all they knew.

Agriculture was never in the picture or even suggested as an available option because their perception of this field was distorted and limited. Almost 13 years later, with a bachelor’s in Agricultural Systems Management, and a master’s in International Agricultural Development, I can honestly say that I have been blessed and even lucky to have fond my true calling in the agriculture field.

Back then, my knowledge about agriculture was restricted to the production part; raising livestock and crops or farming. I did not know that the agricultural sector had such a colossal amount of majors and careers available. However, my parents nor my school counselors told me about it, because like me, they did not have a clue either. We were all ignorant about the great career opportunities that can be found in this field.

Even for students who had some interest in agriculture, many did not major in this field because there was the perception that in order to be successful, your family had to be directly involved in this field through a business or had land for agriculture activities.

All the wrongful perceptions deterred many students to major in agriculture, and this is a problem that is still latent today. It was not until I came to the U.S. to pursue my college career that I had the opportunity to be exposed to agriculture, and I was able to find my real passion for this field. But even in the U.S, agriculture was misunderstood and wrongfully perceived. By the time I was done with my bachelor’s degree, I came to two very important conclusions: agriculture played a vital role in our daily lives, and that most people were oblivious to this fact.

In developing countries like Costa Rica, the development and expansion of the agricultural sector can create more stable economies and economic growth. There is a need to increase the amount of agriculture professionals in the job market and students into agricultural careers. The problem is how to attract more people into agriculture, when there is a lack of understanding and information for this field.

For those of us involved in this field, we have not been very successful capturing potential students into ag majors. Agriculture has a stigma that it is a dead-end career with low wages, and few opportunities. It is time to rethink how we recruit more students, including minorities, and show them that agriculture is a dynamic, innovative, exciting, and vibrant field full of opportunities that go beyond the production sector.  And even for the production sector, which is a fundamental component of agriculture, we can show how it is perpetually changing by the introduction of new technologies to solve more complex challenges.

Even though production represents only 2% of the employment opportunities in agriculture, we have to find better ways to keep feeding a fast growing World.

One of the goals in AgForLife is to keep up with rapid changing times where younger generations of students are becoming more technologically savvy. The integration of these technologies are not only necessary to attract more students, but also to improve agricultural processes. Our vision is to change the perceptions of agriculture through education, technology, and innovation. You can be part of a concept that will change how people perceive agriculture. Now, the question is if you are going to join us in pursuing this quest?

Until next time, have a great week.

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Contemporary Agriculture: What is it?

Posted by Edward Romero on June 10th, 2010

Literature is littered with research about how students perceive agriculture to be limiting and with few career opportunities outside of production agriculture leading a successful life.  There is a critical need to better convey the vast array of opportunities in agriculture, food, and life sciences by identifying systems, industries, and careers in or associated with the agricultural industry in order to help the general population better understand the impact of agriculture in our society.  One part of the AgForLife website is to help people better understand the broad definition of agriculture and the many opportunities related to the industry.

Agriculture:  The need for a new definition.

As evidenced by the dwindling acres of farm land in production in the United States, fewer and fewer people are considering careers in contemporary agriculture due to the misconception of limited opportunities in agriculture.  Today, many people still perceive that agriculture refers only to production agriculture—the raising of livestock and crops or farming and rarely, if ever, know about the many different segments of industry that are linked to contemporary agriculture, such as natural resources and the environment or know the many service industries that help our agriculturists in financial planning, lending, insurance, commodity trading, or agricultural communications to name a few.  In addition, people have little knowledge about how equipment systems and chemical and pharmaceutical systems are part of the agricultural industry.  While people have a sense of how the animal and plant related system is part of agriculture, the population at large rarely understands the implications of how life sciences, sales and distribution services, research and development, and marketing and manufacturing play a role in agriculture.

Old Perception, New Reality

The perception of agriculture by the general public is largely still visualized as primarily farming and ranching or linked primarily to production agriculture.  Allowing the public, parents, teachers, and students to continue to have a misconceived notion or negative perception about the true meaning of contemporary agriculture is detrimental to our industry and is inaccurate at best.

Agriculture is defined by the Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary (2000) as “the science, art, or practice of cultivating the soil, producing crops, and raising livestock and in varying degrees the preparation and marketing of the resulting products: Farming.”  While the above definition of agriculture is true, contemporary agriculture is also inclusive of other practices and systems that more broadly define what the new agricultural industries represent.  Stated broadly, plants and animals, including soil cultivation, livestock and crop management, and the activities of processing and marketing, include a range of technologies associated with their production and by-products.  One term to convey the technologies that interconnect the inputs and outputs of the farming sector is agribusiness.  To this degree, agriculture can include the wide range of activities in manufacturing and distribution used in farming that is closely associated with industrial inputs.  In addition, farm production (crops, animals, animal products and by-products which are provided to the consumer) is all part of the agriculture cycle. 

The National Research Council’s definition of agriculture is broader than Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary in order to include a more accurate representation of contemporary agriculture due to technological and structural changes.  The National Research Council (1988) defines “agriculture” broadly as to:

…encompass the production of agricultural commodities, including food, fiber, wood products, horticultural crops, and other plant and animals products.  The terms also include the financing, processing, marketing, and distribution of agricultural products; farm production supply and service industries; health, nutrition, and food consumption; the use and conservation of land and water resources; development and maintenance of recreational resources; and related economic, sociological, political, environmental, and cultural characteristics of the food and fiber system.

Despite the differences in definitions, one thing is certain, there is a vast array of systems, industries, and careers that agriculture touches or impacts on a daily basis and many opportunities are available to us due to the large economic impact of agriculture. While traditional agricultural production is still very much at the core of agriculture, over the last several decades, agriculture has continued to expand it’s influence in our daily lives.

For more information, read about it on the AgForLife website. We welcome your comments and thoughts on this topic.

Until next week.

Adios!

4 Comments »

Meet Edward Romero, Founder of AgForLife, LLC

Posted by Edward Romero on May 24th, 2010

Since our inaugural blog last week as well as the launch of the AgForLife website, I received several emails inquiring more about the company and those behind the scenes so I figured it would be something I could write about in this week’s blog to help you learn a little more about me, my background and AgForLife, LLC. Below are several questions that were asked and in turn, may give you more insight as to who we are and why we do, what we do.

How did you get your start?

As a boy growing up in agriculture all my young life, I was exposed to many things related to production agriculture. My father raised cattle (and still does), quarter horses, sheep, goats, pigs, and just about any other form of livestock you can imagine. As a young boy living in rural New Mexico, sometimes living so far from town with so many chores waiting for me when I got home from school, I can honestly say it was a tough life. Not because I had to chop wood when I arrived home from my 45-mile jaunt from school nor the time it took for me to fill the kerosene lamps so that I could do my homework after chores via a flickering lamp because we were so isolated, but because it was hard work.

Our family lived on the leased ranch until I was about 15 years old. Later we then moved to a small farming community in Eastern New Mexico. There, I was able to enjoy the amenities just like every other teenager in high school and enjoyed playing sports and becoming involved in 4-H and FFA.  Just being exposed to 4-H and FFA allowed me to experience many of the fun things students experience in these organizations today. Those two organizations had a strong influence on what I would study later in college.

Being the first from my family to graduate from college, I was unsure what I was going to study when I went off to college. Not really knowing any better, I stayed with what I knew. I started in agriculture at the junior college I attended in the Texas Panhandle with the intentions of switching majors later – when I found something better – I thought.  Three degrees later, they are all in agriculture!  My undergraduate degree is in Agricultural Economics/Agricultural Business with a minor in finance. My Master of Arts is in Agricultural and Extension Education, both from New Mexico State University. My PhD is from Texas A&M University focusing on agricultural literacy and outreach.

Immediately after the completion of my Master’s degree, I was a recruiter for the College of Agriculture at New Mexico State University for three years. I worked hard at recruiting more students into agriculture.  Later, I started an insurance agency with Farm Bureau Insurance, where I provided financial and insurance products to farmers and ranchers for six years in the Northeastern part of New Mexico, in the little town of Las Vegas, NM. Yes, there is another Las Vegas, but not the gambling kind. Population is 15,000 and dominated by ranch land and agriculture.

As a small business owner in Las Vegas, NM I started volunteering at the local high school and helping the local FFA chapter and decided I wanted to work again in higher education. I was fortunate to find employment in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University in 2000. There, I held several positions but my focus was always around helping students succeed in agriculture.  My academic roles varied, but primarily were in administration, minority student recruiting, retention, student development, academic advising, and extra-curricular advising. Today, I work in Human Resources, which provides services for several agricultural related agencies for the Texas A&M University System by day, and by night and weekends, work at creating a fledgling start-up called AgForLife, LLC that I started in 2009. We launched the website on May 17, 2010.

It’s a company based on the AgForLife framework and concept. You can find out more information “about us” here.  In short, I am trying to bring awareness to the lack of student enrollment in agriculture. Of the more than 16 million undergraduate students in college in 2008, only 251,000 students were studying some form of agriculture. That translates to approximately 1.5% of the total undergraduate college population studying agriculture. In my opinion, that number is excessively low. Those numbers will never allow us to establish a substantial pool of applicants to fill the many agricultural positions available today, nor in the future. We must act now.

Most of my research and experience has been dealing in this area and studying the affects for more than 10 years. Historically, the negative issues the agriculture industry has been dealing with is over 20+ years. This issue was around when I was graduating from high school.  A more effective effort must be garnered in order to better fulfill today and tomorrow’s agricultural employment demand.  Our company was solely created to help address this problem through a number of ways. Our company’s vision is to change the perceptions of agriculture through education, technology, and innovation. I am optimistic we can make progress but it will take a collective effort. I would be happy to elaborate further if you are interested in knowing more. Just shoot me an email or connect with me on several social media outlets. You can also follow us on Twitter or join our Facebook Page.

Why do you love being a part of the agriculture community?

I love agriculture and I love education. I combined the two to form AgForLife, LLC.  I have always been involved with agriculture all of my life and I was the first from my family to graduate from college, so education is important to me for many reasons.  My professional work has not all been on the agricultural production side, but as we all know, less than 2% of our employment in agriculture is on the production side. With AgForLife, I would like to highlight more of the non-production areas affiliated with agriculture because I think opportunities outside of agriculture, but directly influenced by agriculture often times slips through the cracks and are stories never told. In short, agriculture has to deal with negative consequences by people who do not understand it. I believe it is our job, collectively, to help educate people about the many career opportunities available in agriculture from the farm to fork, and all in-between. There are so many opportunities for us to share our story.  Especially, to first-generation college students who are not familiar with the many possibilities available to them, which we could mentor into our industry.  I believe agricultural awareness and agricultural literacy are important to helping people become better consumer and advocates of agriculture as well.

What are you and your family doing now in agriculture?

My roots are still in agriculture, as I live on a small 12 acres ranchette about 15 miles from the city of Bryan/College Station, TX. I have several horses, one lonely heifer (long story), cats and a dog.  Just this week, I am acquiring my first tractor.  I am excited, because now I can mow my own pastures, disc my riding area where I ride my horses, drill postholes for some new cross fencing I want to install (not looking forward to building fence), and so many other uses. Today, I may not live on a large ranch like the one I grew up on, but I will always yearn to live the rural lifestyle and agriculture will always be a part of my life, whether I am helping dad brand or helping young people find their calling in agriculture.

If you believe we are in need of improving the number of students enrolling in agricultural majors, support our cause, or believe in our mission, please feel free to share this blog, our website or send people to become members of our Facebook Page. Maybe we will even cross paths via tweets on Twitter. Nonetheless, if you have more questions, need more information, or would like to share your thoughts, please drop us a note. We’d love to hear from  you.

Until next week,

Adios!

PS: I almost forgot to mention. In the coming weeks you will also be hearing from our friend Eric Brenner, originally from Costa Rica and now a graduate student at Texas A&M University. He is also involved with AgForLife and will also be blogging about his experiences on this site as well.  For more information about Eric, go here to learn more about him.

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AgForLife, LLC Established to Address Agricultural Student Recruiting Woes

Posted by Edward Romero on May 17th, 2010

Agriculture.

What is it about agriculture that is so intriguing for some people and not even considered by others? After all, agriculture is the lifeblood of our society.  It is because of agriculture that we are able to enjoy many of the joys of life.  Just about everything we touch and definitely everything we eat comes from agriculture.

A small number of today’s undergraduate students in college are studying agriculture. Only 1.5% of the undergraduate college students are studying some form of agriculture in the United States.

Why?

Well, it is for a number of reasons.  Based on a 2005 national study to evaluate the different factors affecting admission and matriculation of high school students in the United States into college programs related to agriculture sciences, 41% of the students had a misconception or image about agricultural sciences; 33% lacked knowledge about employment opportunities; and 22% lacked knowledge about fields of study.

What are we doing to address this issue?  More importantly, who is doing something about it?

There are pockets of people, organizations, companies and a sprinkling of universities trying to address this problem, but we really are not making the strides we should be making given our growing population and changing demographics. Even more so, given the diverse career opportunities in agriculture, students are not enrolling into agricultural majors in the numbers you would think.

Companies are looking for larger pools of applicants in college. They are also looking for more students from underrepresented groups, but they are having a hard time finding large minority applicant student-pools to choose from in universities and colleges across the country studying agriculture.

Universities are constantly challenged in trying to recruit more students into their schools but they too are struggling in recruiting more minority students, especially Hispanics, and students in general into their agricultural programs. The issue of recruiting more students into agriculture – especially minority students – has been a long-standing issue. When I graduated from high school this was a problem.  Today, almost 25 years later, we are still dealing with this problem and it is not going away any time soon.  Many of the issues we faced 25 years ago, we are still facing today, such as those factors mentioned above from the 2005 national study.  We need to address this issue proactively; otherwise, I believe it is going to hurt the agricultural industry.

Research shows that many Hispanic students (parents and high school counselors included) steer away from agriculture because of the perception that agriculture only equates to a dead-end career where only the negative perceptions of hard work, long hours, stoop labor, low wages, and working in harsh conditions are the norm. Perhaps this is true if you work in the production agricultural sector.  However, less than 2% of our employment opportunities in agriculture are in production agriculture – farming and ranching.

So what are we doing about it?

In 2004, a concept was shared with a group of industry representatives in St. Louis, Missouri to address some of the above concerns.  During the next 18 months, Dr. Edward W. Romero and Pablo Ramirez, a graduate student pursuing a Masters in Agribusiness, developed a framework to address this problem and a unique design and structure was born in what has become known as the AgForLife Map.

  • The AgForLife Map is utilized to help educate the general public about the various opportunities related to, but not limited to, occupational and career opportunities in agriculture, food and life sciences.
  • The AgForLife Map is an innovative process which helps in the recruitment of students interested in the agriculture, food and life sciences.
  • The two-dimensional AgForLife Map aides in the visualization and guiding students into employment opportunities and careers.
  • The Map aids in understanding the integration of multiple systems and the route taken for inputs, such as materials and information to reach the consumer as an output.
  • The AgForLife Map will assist students with knowledge in order to make informed decisions about multiple career paths and opportunities in the agriculture, food, and life sciences.

The AgForLife concept is derived from the belief in which a successful and vibrant agricultural industry relies on human capital. The ‘chain’ starts with well-educated and informed individuals knowledgeable about how agriculture plays a vital role in our daily lives.

In order to address areas such as career and employment opportunities in industry and government as well as student recruitment by agricultural schools, a small start-up company was formed in 2009, called AgForLife, LLC.  It is grounded in the AgForLife concept and framework and was formed to begin to directly address issues facing agriculture by utilizing unique and innovative methods to reach students, primarily high school and college age students.  In short, the company will be working to identify unique, non-traditional approaches using innovation and technology to address problems facing agricultural student recruiting today and within the coming decades, especially given the dramatic demographic shift in certain groups. You can learn more about their vision here.

If you share our concern as well as our vision, we encourage you to become involved. You may already be doing something in this area. Perhaps you have a blog, or you have a Facebook Group or Page advocating agriculture.  As a first step, we encourage you to join our Facebook Group or Page.  You can connect with us through a variety of social media sites found on our website.

In upcoming weekly AgForLife blogs, we will be blogging about a variety of topics dealing with agricultural student recruiting, minority student issues, careers, employment opportunities, and a variety of other agricultural related topics.  If you have ideas or would like to share your comments on future topics, please connect with us. We would enjoy hearing from you.

Until next week, best wishes for a fun and productive week.

Adios!

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