Just Plain Ag-Citing
Beyond those rows of corn and herds of cows is a groundswell of activity dedicated to producing fiber and food for an increasing global population. It’s more than pitchforks and shovels. Many of today’s farmers are high-tech, using drones and GPS-enabled tractors, and focusing not just on sustainability but also conserving natural resources. Agriculture in northeast Indiana – and nationally – is one of the best-kept secrets when it comes to careers.
With the appropriate education and training, you could be a drone technologist, a biochemist, a soil, plant or animal scientist, an animal geneticist, or a precision agriculture technician. The opportunities are many across the nation or you may choose to apply your talents right here in northeast Indiana, where the region is leading the nation or state in several production areas.
You may have never considered a career in agriculture, but you could be at the forefront of work to ensure the survival of our planet. Pretty Ag-Citing stuff. (If you possess the right skills and are ready to work now, consider registering for the agriculture industry’s Great Lakes/Midwest Virtual Career Fair Jan. 14.)
Brock Flickinger of Wakarusa, an agribusiness major at Huntington University, thought he wanted to study pre-med until he worked on a farm and came to appreciate the hard work, the importance of that work, and the variety of opportunities.
“Working in agriculture is different every day. You don’t go into work and expect the same thing. It’s more than sitting on a tractor. Agriculture needs people who know the marketing side of it, the finances behind it.”
Did You Know?
Northeast Indiana Works commissioned two studies of the agriculture industry in the region, one focusing on the strength of the sector and the other focusing on the state of agriculture-related education. Ag-Citing is part of an initiative to create awareness of career opportunities in agriculture.
- Almost half of the calves produced in Indiana come from northeast Indiana.
- More than a quarter of the ducks produced in the nation come from northeast Indiana.
- The regional concentration of workers in ethyl alcohol manufacturing and processing of soybeans and other oilseeds far exceeds the national average.
- A lab in LaGrange County test pathogens to make our food supply safer.
- A swine operation in Noble County is an international leader in genetic research.
- A company in Steuben County helps design and build indoor, self-contained aquaculture systems to create sustainable inland systems of fish production.
Jocelyn Winebrenner of Albion, an agribusiness and agriculture education major at Huntington University, wanted a career that combined working with people and animals outdoors. The added bonus is that agriculture is critical to the future of our world.
“Agriculture is the necessity of life. It’s how we’re going to provide the food, shelter and resources for an exponentially growing population. That’s something you can look back on and say, ‘I had a part in that.’ ”
Lizzie Johnson grew up on a farm in the Columbia City area, participated in Future Farmers of America in high school and graduated from Ivy Tech with a degree in agriculture business management. She hopes one day to take over running the family farm.
“Just being out in that environment, it’s a feeling like no other. You have to work hard, but it’s going to pay off. It brings so much joy and a feeling of accomplishment. In the end, I’m bringing food to people’s tables.”