Not so very long ago choosing a career was fairly easy, especially before the Industrial Revolution. The majority of Americans lived and worked on farms and were involved in some aspect of producing food, fiber, and fuel. Sons often followed in their fathers’ footsteps. Women’s choices were even more limited than men’s. Go back a bit further and careers were typically passed down from father to son. Many of our common surnames such as Smith, Cooper, Miller, even Wainwright, reflected the profession of the male members of the family.
Things changed dramatically over the last century, especially with the advent of public education and the explosion of new careers due to the Industrial Revolution and then the Technology Revolution. Young people, and even those not so young, have a myriad of careers to choose from. So many that it is possible to be overwhelmed by the possibilities or just as bad for many, they know nothing of careers that might be the right fit for them.
Careers in agriculture fall into the category that many know nothing about or think are not for them. Nothing could be further from the truth, especially in today’s agricultural industry. This lack of awareness is extremely frustrating for the industry as it seeks to develop and maintain a skilled workforce. Agriculture is no longer the domain of men as more and more women move into the profession, however, many women have never considered a career in the field. Good paying jobs/careers are sitting empty due to a lack of individuals to fill these positions. The Barton County area and in fact the whole region is in need of individuals to fill numerous positions in the industry. What do you need to obtain a career in agriculture?
While a farm background is nice, it’s hardly necessary and this is reflected in want ads. An awareness of the industry is preferred but other aspects matter more to the profession. The industry is looking for responsible individuals with a desire to learn, a desire to continue learning their whole career, and think critically. They need individuals who like to work outside, in an office setting, enjoy physical labor, are tech savvy or want to be, or a combination. Agriculture needs individuals who are accountable, can communicate effectively, serve the customer, are accountable for their actions, and have good self-management skills, and maybe most of all care and take pride in their work.
Barton Community College, as well as other two-year colleges and technical institutions, work closely with the crop and livestock industry to develop certificate and two-year degrees tailored to provide the basic skills for any individual desiring a career in agriculture. These aren’t your grandfather’s or even your father’s “jobs” but careers to develop a good life around.