More jobs than available workers for agriculture and ag technology fields

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DONAHUE, Iowa - At the Ag Summit at Cinnamon Ridge Farm experts from the industry gathered to talk about a variety of different topics. One of those topics is job opportunities in the industry that is continuing to grow.

"Technology, biology there's a lot of different areas, it's an exciting venue to be in right now, agriculture," said Joe Heinrich, vice president of Iowa Farm Bureau.

With many different avenues to take in the industry they are finding it hard to find people to fill jobs working with GPS, drone and computer technology.

"It's definitely making it more challenging to get the trained employees that a lot of companies need and even on the farms when you think of agriculture itself and production agriculture has to do now," said Heinrich.

"I had a really great FFA instructor in high school who was a great mentor and really encouraged me to pursue agriculture," said Elyssa McFarland, Iowa Field Manager, Soil Health Partnership.  She says the opportunities in high school got her into the industry.

Ag programs like the one at Iowa State University have grown throughout the years.

"We have 98% of the students at Iowa State University that graduated this year are getting jobs in agriculture," said Bill Northey, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture.

It's still not enough to fill all of the open jobs. Heinrich said they need to work on making sure students are more aware of the different areas in the industry.

"A lot of youth don't realize the opportunities in agriculture, they think of it as the cowboys and plows and really if they look at the whole picture there's so many opportunities that are beyond that," said Heinrich.

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