Help Wanted

I remember it like it was yesterday. That moment when I realized that I wanted to be a journalist, inspired by the passion and energy of a single high school journalism teacher.

I always knew I could write, but I could really feel my groove when I got the chance to compile a list of related facts into a narrative. Nothing felt better than nailing a good story.

Unfortunately, from that day forward through most of my high school and college career, I endured counselor after counselor saying basically the same thing: “You want to do what? There’s no future in that! Don’t waste your time! You could make (fill in the blank with attractive high five-figure salary) a year right out of college if you go into engineering/computer programming/business management.”

What I think is most interesting about my experience is how it contrasts with what’s going on with agriculture today. Back in 1981, my counselor liked to pull out Newsweek and Time articles predicting top jobs of the future. “One day everyone will have a computer in their home! Businesses will come to rely on computers to run their operations! Computer programmers and engineers will be in demand for decades!”

Honestly, my counselor could have promised me a mansion, a perfect wife and a BMW and I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere near the fields he was trying to sell me. But he was pushing the long-term future of these fields, and pushing them hard.

What about agriculture? Given the potential in this industry, why isn’t every high school counselor from the borroughs of New York to the ‘burbs of Orange County selling the career potential of agriculture as hard as they possibly can?

All the elements are there, and more. First and foremost, we’re talking about feeding the world, or helping develop products and technologies that feed the world. Second, the websites, television and print media have been inundated with discussions about the impending population boom (over 9 billion mouths to feed by 2050) and hand-wringing about how we’re going to feed them all.

So there’s two solid pillars to build on — a noble profession and substantial long term growth potential. Add the myriad ways individuals can participate in ag, from farming through retailing and advising all the way up to developing products and practices in businesses and universities, and there’s a lot of appeal.

Why couldn’t a career in agriculture be to the 21st century what a career in computer programming, engineering and business management was when I was in school?

I was sitting in on a session at the 10th International Conference on Precision Agriculture (cool technology to play with … yet another notch for agriculture) in July, and there were many discussions lamenting the lack of qualified agronomists available to hire. Agronomy is going to be a key component, paired with improved biotech crops, to reaching the yield we need to feed those 9 billion people.

We need to capture the imagination of more young people about a career in agriculture, both in rural America and in the cities. Talk not just about the benefits of agriculture, but the rewards of a career in agriculture.

As for me, I have a few former guidance counselors to call …

Leave a Reply

Paul Schrimpf Stories

Paul SchrimpfWorking With Walmart
June 2, 2014
It's critical for agriculture to have seats at the table as the mega-retailer works out its definition of sustainability. Read More

Trending Articles

InsecticidesNew Research Study Shows The Value Of Neonics
October 29, 2014
The study evaluated seed treatment, soil and foliar uses of neonicotinoid insecticides in the U.S. and Canada. Read More
Crop InputsPlatform Specialty Products To Acquire Arysta LifeScience
October 20, 2014
Once the acquisition is complete, Platform Specialty Products will combine Arysta LifeScience with previously acquired companies Agriphar and Chemtura Crop Solutions. Read More
Seed/BiotechMonsanto Offers New Support For Ferguson, Area Communities
October 8, 2014
Monsanto Co. has committed $1 million in new support for several collaborative efforts in Ferguson, MO, and surrounding communities in North St. Louis County. Read More
Seed/BiotechUnapproved Genetically Modified Wheat Found In Montana
October 3, 2014
USDA reports that one year after discovery of Monsanto's unapproved wheat in a single Oregon field disrupted U.S. wheat export sales, the GMO wheat has again been found in Montana. Read More
Equipment2014 Product Of The Year Voting
September 19, 2014
The deadline to vote for the 2014 CropLife IRON Product of the Year is October 31. Please cast your vote today to help us determine the winner. Read More
FertilizerFall Fertility 2014: Forecasting Fertilizer Use
September 7, 2014
Great crops this year have tapped the soil, and fall work is definitely called for, but how challenging will that get? Read More

Latest News

StewardshipTFI Recognizes Michigan, Maryland Farms For 4R Stewards…
October 31, 2014
As farming practices increasingly attract interest from the general public, two farmers are ensuring they meet public approval. Read More
Eric SfiligojBig Brother Is Already Watching
October 31, 2014
Opponents to UAVs seem to think they could be used to spy on other people. But spying is already taking place, through the Internet. Read More
StewardshipAsmark Institute’s New Training Center Focused On…
October 31, 2014
The newly dedicated Ford B. West Center for Responsible Agriculture will be used as a national training and education center for professionals in the ag input industry. Read More
StewardshipCTIC Tour Dives Deep Into Everglades
October 31, 2014
The most recent Conservation In Action Tour (CTIC) hit South Florida recently to tour the Everglades Agricultural Area. Read More
StewardshipResponsibleAg Begins Auditor Training
October 31, 2014
ResponsibleAg auditor training is now underway at the Ford B. West Center for Responsible Agriculture in Owensboro, KY. Read More
CropLife 100ValueAct Buys Stake In Fertilizer Dealer Agrium
October 30, 2014
ValueAct has bought 8.2 million shares in Calgary, Alberta-based Agrium, making them the second largest investor in the fertilizer dealer. Read More
InsecticidesNew Research Study Shows The Value Of Neonics
October 29, 2014
The study evaluated seed treatment, soil and foliar uses of neonicotinoid insecticides in the U.S. and Canada. Read More
StewardshipUSDA To Provide $4 Million For Honey Bee Habitat
October 29, 2014
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that more than $4 million in technical and financial assistance will be provided to Read More
Crop InputsValent Launches New Low VOC ProGibb LV Plus Plant Growt…
October 29, 2014
ProGibb LV Plus PGR is a high-potency, liquid gibberellic acid formulation designed to comply with California’s new air quality standards for high volatile organic compound agricultural products. Read More
Crop InputsBayer CropScience Acquires Certain DuPont Crop Protecti…
October 29, 2014
Bayer CropScience and DuPont Crop Protection have signed an agreement for Bayer to purchase certain DuPont Crop Protection Land Management assets in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand. Read More
ManagementWest Central Names New President
October 29, 2014
West Central’s board of directors have announced their unanimous decision to name Milan Kucerak President and CEO-elect following Jeff Stroburg’s retirement at the end of the fiscal year. Read More
InsecticidesValent U.S.A., MGK Form Marketing Agreement
October 24, 2014
Valent has formed an agreement with Minneapolis-based MGK to manage the marketing and sales of MGK’s crop protection line of insect control products within the U.S. beginning April 1, 2015. Read More
StewardshipFlorida’s 4R Advocate Keeps Improving
October 24, 2014
Florida farmer Alan Jones uses the 4R principles of nutrient stewardship as the core of his fertility program, which allows him to maximize production and keep costs in check. Read More
Seed/BiotechMonsanto Named One Of The World’s Best Multinational …
October 23, 2014
Monsanto ranked No. 8 in the world’s largest annual study of workplace excellence that identifies the top 25 best multinational companies in terms of workplace culture. Read More
Crop InputsArysta Hires Former Agri-Chem, CPS Employee For Delta S…
October 23, 2014
New Territory Sales Manager Mark Peel’s primary role will focus on working with growers regarding fungicides in Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas and Tennessee. Read More
CropLife 100GROWMARK Announces Appointments In Plant Food Division
October 22, 2014
GROWMARK, Inc. has announced the three key staff changes in its Plant Food Division. Read More
CropLife 100GROWMARK Appoints New VP Of Finance And Risk Management
October 22, 2014
Wade Mittelstadt has been named GROWMARK Vice President, Financial and Risk Mangement, effective December 1, 2014. Read More
FungicidesEPA Approves BASF In-Furrow Corn Fungicide
October 22, 2014
Field trials show Xanthion In-furrow fungicide provides more rapid emergence, extended residual control and improved seedling health than untreated crops. Read More