It Takes Talent to Feed the World
by Nanci Lilja, President, CHS FoundationWhen most people think of agriculture, they wonder how we are going to feed the growing population of 9.6 billion by 2050. And while that’s an important question to consider, I find myself thinking more often about the individuals needed to fill the talent pipeline to feed that growing population.
With nearly 4 in 10 agriculture jobs going unfilled each year and the average-age of farmers ever increasing, it’s going to take a pragmatic, creative approach to encourage young people to pursue careers in agriculture.
While filling the talent gap and meeting the labor demand is an issue that cannot be solved by any one individual or organization, I feel a personal responsibility to be part of the solution. Fortunately for me, I get to go to work every day knowing that CHS and the CHS Foundation are investing in programs that develop ag leaders for life and encourage students to pursue careers in agriculture.
In my role as CHS Foundation president, I get to interact with some of the students we support through programs like FFA, Ag Future of America and 25 university ag programs. It’s inspiring to hear from students of all ages, backgrounds and perspectives about how one experience in middle school, high school or at the university level sparked their involvement in agriculture. I always leave those conversations feeling inspired and renewed in my belief that the next generation is going to find new ways to propel the ag industry forward and be well-equipped to step into ag careers.
All of us in agriculture have a unique story to tell, and that’s why our support of National Ag Day is important. Because while we know the challenges and exciting opportunities of this industry, we recognize that our policymakers and the general public may not. There is something very powerful about students sharing their passion and celebrating their unique contributions to the ag industry, and we’re proud to be a part of that.