More Cities Are Introducing Agriculture Programs to Students. It Could Change the Face of the Industry.

America’s agriculture industry is in need of tens of thousands of skilled hires. In big cities surrounded by farming communities, people are in desperate need of jobs. To satisfy both, an increasing number of schools are now offering agriculture and food science programs to city students, opening them up to careers they may have otherwise never considered.

One such city is Decatur, Illinois. Unemployment is rampant in Decatur, despite the fact that a number of agricultural behemoths call the area home. Last fall, school officials introduced ag classes to students, following in the footsteps of Omaha, Milwaukee, and Iowa City. The city’s high schools received $1.6 million from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation to hire teachers and build a barn and a farm.

The programs could help address the sector’s labor shortage, as well as the city’s economic woes. Beyond that, they could introduce a new level of diversity to agriculture’s workforce, which is still predominately white.

Read more about the growth of ag programs in city schools and how it could diversify the industry here.


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