Let’s face it, the word “Agriculture” is often very narrowly perceived as an industry with limited opportunities, lacking in both technology and innovation. This is due, in part, to the lack of awareness of the dynamic and changing industry and the perception that the industry is just about low wages, long hours, stoop labor, and limited career opportunities. Students, parents, teachers and the public need to be aware of the 200+ rewarding and challenging career opportunities in agriculture; not just because they are available, but because we need to inspire and train the next wave of our industry.
The largest misconception is that agriculture is limited to raising livestock and crops or farming – production agriculture – yet less than 2% of employment opportunities are in this area. Natural resources and the environment, service industries which help agriculturists in financial planning, lending, insurance, commodity trading, or agricultural communications, are linked directly to agriculture. In addition, most people have little knowledge about how equipment systems and chemical and pharmaceutical systems are part of the agricultural industry as well. While people recognize how animals and plants are part of agriculture, the population at large rarely understands the implications agriculture has on other segments of our society, such as life sciences, sales and distribution services, research and development, and marketing and manufacturing. Furthermore, the public rarely appreciates the byproducts of agricultural commodities and how we utilize them in our every day lives from cosmetics to medicine. We have to educate the public, parents, teachers, and students of the true definition of contemporary agriculture or it will become destructive to the future of the broad agricultural industry and detrimental to our own well-being.
AgForLife® LLC was formed in 2009 to help address the lack of students considering agricultural, food, and life sciences majors. Having a larger pool of highly diverse students in the agricultural, food, and life sciences arena will translate into a more dynamic and vibrant agricultural industry that is better equipped to serve the changing demographics in the U.S. AgForLife will work hard to reach students, primarily high school and college age students, using creative and innovative technology. The company will be working to identify unique, non-traditional approaches to address problems facing agriculture today and within the coming decades, especially given the dramatic demographic shift in certain groups.
We hope you are inspired and share our vision of changing the way people look at agriculture to better reflect the true meaning of contemporary agriculture. Please note, we definitely appreciate the hard work farmers and ranchers do for our society. Without them, we would cease to exist. We cannot, nor will not, forget the importance of production agriculture, however, we need to continue to work harder than ever to show young people that contemporary agriculture has more opportunities now than ever before. Hence, awareness leads to more informed consumers, healthier choices, an abundance of diverse occupations, and in general, a better understanding of one of the oldest and most important components of our existence – agriculture! An industry we frequently take for granted, usually misunderstand, rarely recognize, and seldom appreciate; yet is the foundation of our survival and the backbone of the world.
Edward W. Romero, PhD
Founder and Manager