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www.thelandonline.com — “Where Farm and Family Meet”

THE LAND — SEPTEMBER 17/SEPTEMBER 24, 2021

Don’t look past business students when hiring for ag jobs It’s a good time to be in the “Help food has not translated into people One way is to look outside traditional agriculture Wanted” sign business. Just drive taking jobs in the industry. The degree programs such as the various business around town and you’ll see it as tight overall job market is affecting degrees. Of the open positions noted in the NIFA most every business in the region most functions of companies from report (https://www.purdue.edu/usda/employment/), is in need of employees. Employers production to sales to management. there will be 24,700 annual open business and manare scratching their heads trying to Positions are going unfilled; and as agement positions for new college graduates in the figure out where to find qualified a result, the growth of companies is FANRE realm. Many are never filled. employees — and sometimes “qualbecoming stagnate. The 2021 GreenSeam’s director Sam Ziegler agrees with the ified” simply means a person who GreenSeam State of Ag Report opportunity to look towards business schools. “Ag shows up every day on time. found companies ranked the lack of companies are businesses, all which have similar TALENT IN THE GREENSEAM talent/employees as the secondThe story of the increasingly difneeds of talent,” Zeigler said. “Having foundational greatest factor in limiting business knowledge of how a business operates has big value ficult search for employees keeps By Shane Bowyer to grow — right behind policy and amplifying as the Minnesota unemas every ag company needs talent which aligns with regulations (which was higher than business majors.” ployment rate keeps falling. In normal due to Covid regulations). July, the unemployment rate in Minnesota hit 3.9 In addition, the State of Ag Report also found that percent — well below the U.S. number of 5.4 perAccording to U.S. Department of Agriculture’s ag knowledge is not the strongest need of what is cent. The current percentage in Minnesota is grow2020-2025 National Food and Agriculture report, desired of current candidates. The report showed ing closer to the pre-Covid rate of February 2020 “Employment Opportunities for College Graduates,” individual skills such as work ethic and emotional which was 3.3 percent, compared to May of 2020 there will be approximately 59,400 open positions intelligence ranked high, as well as collaborative when it was 11.3 percent. annually within food, agriculture, renewable natuskills like communication, leadership and cultural ral resources and the environment (FANRE). Thus, The unemployment numbers can only tell part of awareness — all of which are core to most business to help overcome the talent shortage, companies the story. Other factors impacting the agriculture degree programs. and food industry labor market include fewer people need to be creative in recruiting methods as well as Meshke adds to this point. “Every individual skill search in non-traditional places. in rural communities, the decline in the overall set can find a career path in agriculture,” she said. labor participation rate, higher wages and “When interviewing a candidate, however, I On an annual basis, expect 59,400 job opportunities for new college graduates competition from other job sectors, and the focus on communication, problem solving and untrue image of all ag jobs being hard, dirty follow through. That’s important, no matter work. Besides that, what’s there not to like? the job description.” Sheryl Meshke, co-President and CEO of I may be biased, as well as tooting our own Associated Milk Producers Inc., noted that tractor horn, but I would be remised in not consumers are becoming more aware of the mentioning that we have been developing food supply chain and the infrastructure. agribusiness and food innovation programing “Perhaps the pandemic brought food back in the College of Business at Minnesota into perspective,” she said. “In Gallup’s 20 State University, Mankato. In the past couyears of tracking Americans’ views of various ple years, we have added a new major, minor business and industry sectors, farming and and a number of extra-curricular ag-related agriculture was the clear leader this year.” activities for business students to help Yet, the positive view of agriculture and See GREENSEAM, pg. 12

Intern in the

Have you always wanted a career in agriculture? Yes, I have known since a young age that my passion was within the agricultural industry. I grew up in a small farming community and was surrounded by agriculture which exposed me to various sides of crop and livestock operations. Having these experiences was the main source of how I found my passion and Luke Hennis knew what I wanted to do when I was going into the job market. Madelia, MN Why did you choose an internship in the ag industry? School: Southwest Minnesota I chose an internship in the ag industry because it correlated State University directly with my major in college and allowed me to expand my knowledge and network. Major: Agronomy/Ag. Business What are you learning on the job you did not learn in Internship with Crystal Valley class? Cooperative I learned all my hands-on experiences in the field. I was able to see and experience not only the crop/weed scouting in the field, How did you learn about your internship? but I was also able to do sale call ride-alongs which allowed me I grew up in a region where Crystal Valley had many of their to see the sales side of an agronomist’s job. Among other things I locations which allowed me to meet some of the employees. I was able to work at the airport to load crop dusters, soil sample, also knew other people who had interned with them before me attend seed kickoffs, and had bi-weekly trainings with other comand had good experiences with the company. panies in the industry.

What surprised you about the internship? Something that surprised me the most about the internship with Crystal Valley is that I did not feel like summer help. I felt like they hired me to expand my knowledge and invest in me. This countered my original thoughts before I started the internship that my role would be summer help. In what ways has your employer worked with you to be flexible for your student life and classes? My employer allowed me to receive college credits for this internship by putting in extra time to fill out paperwork for my summer class. What is your favorite animal? My favorite animal is dogs. What is your favorite food? I would have to go with steak and potatoes because, nothing beats a medium-rare ribeye with potatoes. Who is you favorite musical artist/band? My favorite musical artist is either Jason Aldean or Nickelback.

Profile for The Land

THE LAND ~ September 24, 2021 ~ Northern Edition  

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