If you haven't noticed, agricultural talent is in high demand. Trends such as an aging workforce, less young people from agricultural backgrounds, and overall urbanization have not helped. We have a serious talent shortage in agribusiness that only appears to be getting worse. In addition to these trends there has recently been a lot of exciting work being done in areas such as precision agriculture, urban agriculture, sustainable agriculture, and agricultural technology. One of the things I love most about the agriculture industry is that it is very merit based. YOU CAN BE SUCCESSFUL HERE! Whether you have a college degree or not, if you are willing to work hard, treat people with respect, learn and grow, you can have a long and very successful career in ANY ONE of the below categories no matter who you are, where you're from, or what your educational background may be.

Consumer-led agricultureMost of us love agriculture but let's be honest.....we're not doing this as a community service. Agriculture is a business that sells products and services to real customers with real dollars that have real preferences. I cringe when I hear my colleagues in agriculture accusing a customer that wants to buy organic as "uneducated" or poking fun at "alternative" forms of production. Equally, I feel uneasy when I hear wild claims demonizing GMOs or "industrial agriculture". This infighting between various forms of agriculture is counterproductive and damaging. When it comes down to it, the verdict is ultimately up to the CONSUMER. All anyone is doing in production agriculture or agribusiness is meeting customer demand. You may not think the customer should pay money to buy organic, or GMOs, or imported apples, or whatever. But the fact is that it doesn't matter what you think because it is the consumer that's paying for what the consumer wants. We need to be very careful in agriculture not to lose site of the fact that it's the consumer that's paying our bills and gets to decide for themselves what they want.

A Grain Merchandiser is someone who is responsible for buying and selling grain. Typically a Grain Merchandiser is purchasing physical bushels of grain from a farmer or country elevator (meaning a grain elevator that collects farmer grain during harvest) and sells grain to exporters, processors, end users, or other Grain Merchandisers. The merchant is also often responsible for arranging and paying for the shipment logistics which may include truck, rail, barge, or vessel transportation. With nearly 20 billion bushels of grain grown in the United States per year, this is a very important job at the intersection of farming, agribusiness, finance, and marketing. Grain Merchandisers might work simply as third party middle men looking for opportunities to make money in the markets (also referred to as "Grain Traders"), or they could work for ethanol plants or grain elevators just buying grain from farmers (called "originating"). They could also work for large livestock or poultry feeders, millers and processors, or exporters involved in the buying and selling of grain. A Grain Merchandiser is NOT a Broker. In the grain and feed business, the job title of "Broker" refers only to those who bring buyers and sellers together and make money from the transaction (brokerage fee). Instead a Grain Merchandiser actually assumes ownership of the grain and either stores those bushels or sells them on down the supply chain.