In a report from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), jobs that require degrees related to food, agriculture, renewable natural resources or the environment will see an average of 57,900 openings annually over the next five years, which is far more than the anticipated 35,400 graduates in those fields.
The Maryland Soybean Board is stepping up to encourage students to pursue careers in agriculture by tapping an old friend for help: Glycine Max.
Max is the star of a booklet designed for third, fourth, and fifth grade students that traces his life as a young sprout and hailed the scores of uses to which he contributes throughout his life. More than 300,000 students have met Max since the booklet was first introduced to Maryland classrooms for free.
Max is now following students who met him in elementary school into the higher grades, sixth, seventh and eighth, where he helps them consider various career choices through a new website
“Maryland agriculture needs bright young minds to pursue farm careers,” says William Layton, chairman of the Maryland Soybean Board and a farmer from Vienna, Md. “With less than two percent of Americans involved in farming, we have to work at attracting students back to agriculture and getting the education to prepare them to serve Maryland’s number one industry.”
Using a quick survey, Max offers several scenarios with six questions that lead to placement of the student in one of six personality types that guide them into careers within several major agriculture sectors that fit their individual personalities. From there, the students will learn about careers based on their interests. All told, 36 possible career areas, covering a broad spectrum of human activity, emerge from the program.
At the completion of the program, Max awards the students a certificate acknowledging their participation and urging them to continue to “follow your dream.”