Monsanto: AG Industry Adds Nearly 60,000 Jobs a Year, Only 3 Percent of Students Aware

A study found that fewer than one in five (19 percent) high school and college students feel they understand agriculture career opportunities.

Tracy House, Monsanto production manager (CNBC)

While agriculture has become a hot sector for job growth (USDA Employment Opportunities Report, 2015), a just-released survey shows only 13 percent of high school and college students are interested in pursuing a career in the agriculture industry – and just 3 percent can identify it as one of the best fields for college graduates.


The survey, sponsored by America's Farmers Grow Ag Leaders, a Monsanto Fund (No. 43 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies list) program , was conducted in November, a time when many high school students are completing college applications in advance of January 1, 2017, deadlines and as future college graduates are applying for jobs.

Fewer than one in five (19 percent) surveyed indicated that they understood the broad array of career opportunities in agriculture. In fact, the agriculture space is experiencing job growth. According to the USDA, 57,900 high-skilled jobs are created annually in food, agriculture, renewable natural resources and environmental fields in the United States.

The survey identified several misconceptions that contributed to the findings. For example, only 35 percent of high school and college students believed careers in agriculture were technology-driven.

"One of the program's goals is to support future agriculture leaders by helping them to understand the wide array of opportunities in agriculture, from business and communications to science, technology and many other fields," said Al Mitchell, Monsanto Fund president.

"For example, whether you visit a family farm or a corporate operation, you will see growers utilizing technology in exciting ways many students may be unaware of, such as global-positioning systems, state-of-the-art soil quality tools and weather forecasting devices to maximize every square-inch of land. But technology-related jobs are just one avenue that students can pursue with careers in agriculture."

Erickson Research collected data from a total of 1,000 respondents and analyzed the results. When asked to share their interest in working in various industries, 45 percent of respondents were "extremely or very interested" in a career in technology, followed by 40 percent exhibiting the same level interest for a career in arts/entertainment, 35 percent for a career in healthcare, and just 13 percent for a career in agriculture.

To raise awareness of the job prospects in agriculture, the Monsanto Fund supports the America's Farmers Grow Ag Leaders program, which will award more than $500,000 dollars in scholarships to students across the country in 2017.

The scholarships are open to students in eligible counties who are looking to enroll or are enrolled in trade schools, community colleges and four-year universities. Scholarships are awarded in $1,500 increments to students pursuing an education in an ag-related field of study. Fields include: farming, agronomy, education, science, technology, engineering, business, communications, among many others.

Since the program began in 2014, the America's Farmers Ag Leaders program has awarded nearly $1.2 million in scholarships to promising students pursuing their education in agriculture.

Students under the age of 23 can enroll in the America's Farmers Grow Ag Leaders scholarship program from now through Feb. 1, 2017. Online enrollment, as well as a complete list of program rules and eligibility information, can be found at www.GrowAgLeaders.com. Additionally, more information about the program can be found at facebook.com/AmericasFarmers.

Monsanto Company Awards $500,000 Grant to T-REX to Support New Resource Center for Geospatial Innovation

Currently more than 200 small companies and start-ups are housed at T-REX, which is also located about two miles away from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency construction site.

REUTERS

Originally Published by Monsanto.

In its continued support of geospatial innovation, Monsanto Company has awarded a $500,000 grant to T-REX, a St. Louis based non-profit business and technology incubator to support the creation of a new Geospatial Resource and Innovation Center.

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Monsanto and 2Blades Foundation Collaborate to Combat Devastating Soybean Disease


"Collaboration with industry is vital to ensure that new discoveries made in the lab can lead to innovations that will prevent crop losses caused by plant disease," said Dr. Peter van Esse, leader of the 2Blades Research Group at TSL.

REUTERS

Originally Published by Monsanto.

Monsanto Company and charitable organization 2Blades Foundation (2Blades) have formed a new collaboration to discover novel sources of genetic resistance to Asian soybean rust (ASR). 2Blades will deliver resistance genes in further collaboration with The Sainsbury Laboratory (TSL, Norwich, UK), the leading global institute for research on plant-pathogen interactions, and the Universidade Federal de Viçosa (UFV), a leading university in agricultural sciences in Brazil.

Asian soybean rust, a disease caused by the fungus Phakopsora pachyrhizi, results in yellowing and browning of soybean leaves and can lead to premature senesence and significant yield loss. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), P. pachyrhizi has spread rapidly and causes yield losses from 10 to 80% in Argentina, Asia, Brazil, Paraguay, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.1

"Asian soybean rust is an ugly and expensive disease that can devastate farmers' harvests," said Jeremy Williams, Monsanto's biotechnology and ag productivity innovation lead. "Current fungicide treatments can provide some control, but farmers need more tools – and the 2Blades research could help provide a durable solution as part of an integrated pest-management system."

2Blades' mission is to contribute to global food security by developing crops with long-lasting resistance to pathogens in order to reduce losses due to disease. By working with world-leading plant scientists, 2Blades seeks to discover new sources of disease resistance in nature and transfer them into important crops to extend the breadth of their immune system and secure yields.

"Collaboration with industry is vital to ensure that new discoveries made in the lab can lead to innovations that will prevent crop losses caused by plant disease," said Dr. Peter van Esse, leader of the 2Blades Research Group at TSL. "It is therefore exciting to see that our scientific expertise and knowledge on plant-microbe interactions will be combined with Monsanto's capacity to deliver solutions to farmers to tackle a key challenge in soybean cultivation."

"The management of soybean rust requires the integration of different approaches, including disease resistance. This collaboration will allow us to use cutting-edge technologies to speed up the identification of new resistance genes that can be used to deliver more sustainable solutions to soybean farmers, reducing the environmental and economic impact of ASR," said Prof. Sérgio H. Brommonschenkel at UFV.

In January 2017, Monsanto, 2Blades and The Sainsbury Laboratory announced a collaboration focused on tackling corn disease complexes such as stalk and ear rots that have the potential to significantly reduce yield. That research is ongoing and is independent of this new collaboration.

The ASR collaboration complements Monsanto's work to expand the global crop protection toolbox while enabling farmers to produce more with less of an impact on the environment. 2Blades retains rights to deploy new leads arising from the program in crops for smallholder farmers in the least developed countries, with a particular focus on sub-Saharan Africa. Soybean is a crop of significant and increasing importance in Africa, with extraordinary nutritional, soil, and economic benefits. However, the presence of ASR throughout the African continent is a major factor limiting production.

Monsanto: Mark Edge on WEMA, the Fall Armyworm and farmers in Africa

Mark Edge, Director of Collaborations for Developing Countries at Monsanto, talks about WEMA, the initiative that uses Bt maize to eradicate a harmful pest and help smallholder farmers in Africa.

REUTERS

By Mark Edge

Originally Published by Monsanto.

My work at Monsanto over the years has offered me many new challenges – lately I'm working with a team on the complex issue of helping smallholder farmers in Africa get better seed to help them manage the threats to their maize crops.

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