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Tuesday, 13 December 2016 20:57

Career in agriculture looks promising

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            There’s a growing interest in agriculture education in Canada, along with an increasing number of job opportunities in the industry, according to both Statistics Canada data and a couple of independent surveys.

            Stats Can identifies a total of more than 12,000 students studying in agriculture or ag-related programs in 2014—nearly a 17-per-cent increase in four years.

            Agriculture programs are also more likely to see full-time enrollment than other programs (87 per cent compared to

75 per cent) and this rate has been steady over the past five years.

            And a recent informal Farm Credit Canada (FCC) survey of 33 post-secondary institutions offering agriculture and ag-related programs confirms agriculture has become a popular career option.

            “This is a testament to the strength and appeal of Canada’s agriculture industry, which is generating more interest among students than ever before,” said Todd Klink, FCC’s chief marketing officer, who has undertaken projects to get high schools students interested in careers in agriculture.

            “As the industry grows, so does the need for additional talented, energetic and well-educated young people.”

            A recent study by the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC) shows the gap between labour demand and the domestic workforce in agriculture has doubled from 30,000 to 59,000 in the past 10 years and projections indicate that by 2025, the Canadian agri-workforce could be short workers for 114,000 jobs.

            The study also says that primary agriculture has the highest industry job-vacancy rate at seven per cent.

            “It is critically important that this risk is acknowledged and mitigated in an intentional and strategic way,” said CAHRC Executive Director Portia MacDonald-Dewhirst, in releasing this study.

            FCC has various loan programs for young farmers and also supports 4-H Canada clubs and programs and Agriculture in the Classroom.

            “Given that one in eight jobs in Canada are tied to the agri-food industry, there are a lot of opportunities for young people,” Klink said. “The growing interest in agriculture education shows we can be optimistic for the future of agriculture.”

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