Science and technology are a major component of modern agriculture. In fact, a five-year projection from USDA and Purdue University indicates that of the current available jobs in agriculture, 27% are in science, technology, engineering and math.
What’s more, in 2015, there were 56,000 plus career opportunities in the agricultural industry, and only 29,000 graduates who were trained to fill them, according to AgCareers.com. By 2020, that number is expected to expand to 57,900 annual openings in agriculture for those with bachelor’s degrees or higher.
With ample opportunities and a shortage of young people to step into these roles, I was thrilled to hear the news that Bayer and the National 4-H Council are collaborating to inspire 4-H youth to pursue careers in science and ultimately shape the future of agriculture, food and health.
According to a recent press release, “Bayer and National 4-H Council amplified their commitment to the future of our rapidly expanding global population by launching a new effort to grow the pipeline of tomorrow’s innovators, starting now. The two organizations recently announced a nationwide collaboration, Science Matters, which will address the need for an enhanced STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) workforce by planting a love of scientific exploration in thousands of youth in urban and rural areas across the country.”
With 25,000 4-H youth and Bayer’s 150 years of scientific research, it’s the perfect partnership to equip future agricultural leaders with the tools they need to be successful in careers focused on science and technology.
“Advancing health and nutrition is what we do best and care about most at Bayer,” said Ray Kerins, Bayer’s senior vice president of corporate affairs and a former 4-H’er, in the press release. “We can’t do that unless we grow tomorrow’s innovators today and fill the critical pipeline of future STEM leaders—not only for agriculture, which is increasingly technologically-driven, but for all STEM-related fields. Bayer sees this as a sacred responsibility and we’re proud to work with 4-H, a first-class organization that shares this vision.”
Science Matters will connect 4-H leaders with Bayer employees for mentorship opportunities. Additionally, Bayer will sponsor the Agri-Science Summit in Washington, D.C., where students learn about modern agriculture and careers in agriculture. Plus, Bayer will provide 200 scholarships and community grants, as well as sponsoring the 4-H Youth in Action Award.
This is a fantastic collaboration that should inspire and train 4-H youth to be successful in a variety of agricultural careers. Whether that’s making improvements in food safety, creating new food products, innovating in food cooling or storage methods or producing beef with even greater efficiency, there are so many benefits to a science-based education to our industry. I applaud Bayer and 4-H for recognizing this and making great strides in filling the labor gap.
The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Farm Progress.