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So You Want A Career in Agriculture
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Everyone is waiting to see what the wheat crop will hold. Summer crops are pretty well planted until double-cropping. The area has been receiving fairly significant rain and overall temperatures, while a little cool for corn and sorghum, are great for wheat grain development. Let’s take the opportunity to shift gears from crops to our most important agricultural resource – people. Specifically, let’s take a look at the people out in the fields and feedlots performing the day-to-day operations vital in producing food, fiber, and fuel.
Recently several of us met with members of a local agribusiness to discuss Barton’s new Beef Cattle Production Certificate Program. This program is designed to provide training for the individuals performing the day-to-day tasks in the beef cattle industry. The people involved in the care and handling of cattle responsible for the efficient production of beef. The industry comments and concerns could just as easily have come from any other sector of agriculture.
Naturally, they want to hire people with a background in their industry but would hire the “right” person without training. An institution like Barton Community College can provide the background knowledge in beef cattle production, crop production, or agriculture business management. Agricultural concerns can provide the necessary training but the time necessary in training delays how soon the employee is up to speed. Every concern has its own way of doing things so a certain amount of training in the way a company does business is inevitable. Having an education pertinent to the field makes the employee more valuable in much shorter period of time. So what is meant by the “right” person?
It’s summed up easily; they want “farm kids.” However, this isn’t unique to the agricultural sector. In fact, Fortune 500 companies want to hire employees that are farm kids and have explicitly said so. Do you need to be a “farm kid” to be hired? No. What they are saying is employees need a dedication and commitment to what they are doing. They need to understand that any industry whose product is living, whether a plant or animal, doesn’t work 8 to 5, five days a week. You need to feel a responsibility not just to your employer but to the crop or livestock in your charge. And what’s more, you should enjoy what you are doing regardless of the conditions. To boil it down in one statement; agriculture needs people looking for an avocation not simply a job.
The best part of all this is industry recognizes this dedication and responsibility comes with a price. If you are willing to work, modern agriculture is willingly to provide a good salary (with overtime), benefits, and the chance to advance as your skill level increases. They don’t care if you come from downtown Wichita or Otis. It doesn’t matter if you are a man or woman. Forward thinking, successful agricultural enterprises simply want to see the “farm kid” in you.