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NIFA Partners with Purdue on Employment Study

Employment opportunities for U.S. college graduates with expertise in the food, agricultural, and natural resources system are expected to remain strong during the next 5 years, according to “Employment Opportunities for College Graduates in the U.S. Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resources System,” the 7th 5-year employment opportunities projections study initiated by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

The latest study covers the years 2010 through 2015 and is conducted as a result of Congressional action taken in 1977 when Congress designated the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as the lead federal agency for higher education in the food and agricultural sciences. The study identified graduates with baccalaureate or higher degrees in agriculture, natural resources, veterinary medicine, or closely allied specializations. This study examines those graduates who qualify for and generally enter scientific and professional occupations within the broadly defined careers of the food and agricultural sciences.

Beginning in 1980 and continuing every 5 years, this study has used the most recent annual Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System surveys data to determine the supply of graduates in agriculture, natural resources, and veterinary sciences. The demand for employment is generated using the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics projections.

This year’s study identifies 54,400 annual job openings for new graduates from 2010 through 2015.  To fill these openings, an average of 29,300 graduates is expected annually from colleges of agriculture and life sciences, forestry and natural resources, and veterinary medicine. In addition, approximately 24,200 qualified graduates each year from allied fields, including biological sciences, engineering, health sciences, business, and communication will compete for these positions.  Four major factors will define the market for graduates in the next 5 years: macroeconomic conditions and retirements; consumer preferences for nutritious and safe foods; food, energy, and environment public policy choices; and global market shifts in population, income, food, and energy.

Copies of the publication can be ordered online by visiting Purdue Extension's Education Store and searching for "Employment Opportunities Report".

Contact: Shane Ball

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