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Creating the Future Workforce in Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resources: Proceedings of a Workshop

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The production of food and other agricultural goods is a fundamental human endeavor and a cornerstone of the U.S. economy. While careers related to agriculture and natural resources have evolved in response to new knowledge and technology, consumer demands, and environmental changes, these professional fields now face a critical challenge: the ability to recruit and maintain a robust workforce. Companies, government bodies, and research organizations involved in food, agriculture, and natural resources (areas referred to collectively as FANR) are struggling to attract the next generation of workers. This shortage is apparent in employment projections for both trade positions attainable with certificate programs and high-tech positions requiring advanced degrees. Factors such as an increasingly diverse population, shifting work and career views, and lucrative job opportunities in other fields impact the ability to recruit talented individuals into the agricultural workforce.

To provide a forum for discussing how the community might come together to address this challenge, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine held a workshop on February 10-11, 2016, in Washington, DC. There were approximately 100 participants from land-grant universities, non-land-grant universities, minority-serving universities, community colleges, high schools, professional societies, government bodies, and corporations - reflecting the wide diversity of organizations with a stake in the future FANR workforce. The workshop was designed not only to highlight the significance of the challenges but also to surface concrete, forward-looking opportunities for action. This Proceedings of a Workshop summarizes plenary presentations from the workshop along with insights from 10 working groups that described key challenges, ongoing efforts to address them, and promising approaches for future action.


Suggested Citation

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Creating the Future Workforce in Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resources: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

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Publication Info

46 pages | 6 x 9
ISBN: 978-0-309-27861-4

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