College students needed to fill agronomist shortage


One of the job categories in agriculture facing a talent shortage is agronomy.

“First and foremast, I think it’s a lack of enthusiasm at a young age to get into the field of agronomy and agriculture, in general. A deficiency in the number of graduates to the demand of the industry, we’re talking at least two to 3,000 individuals short graduating from college every year. So the demand’s there,” said Eric Welsh, of the American Society of Agronomy.

Welsh added there is not a strict agronomy degree from most colleges, with agronomic education coming in the form of plant pathology or crop sciences.

The best way to spark student interest in the agronomy field is through mentoring.

“Most of the time, you’re going to have that science-based study versus in-field application. It all leads to the same end, growing that crop. Through our mentorship that pairs up students with agronomists out in the field that’s another way to get them involved, just getting more and more students experience in the field and giving them an opportunity to work day-to-day,” said Welsh.

ASA has an undergraduate program called Students of Agronomy, Soils and Environmental Sciences, or SASES, which connects college students with professionals in the agronomy field.

This report is from our partners at the USDA.