Agriculture is the second largest industry in Florida, but there is uncertainty about the industry’s labor force, the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) recently reported.
UF/IFAS stated that the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates the market value of Florida agriculture at more than $7.46 billion. “But career interest from youth does not match the size and scope of the industry’s labor demands,” it added.
The average age of farmers increases each year. “UF/IFAS works to address this disparity through youth outreach programs that increase agriculture literacy early on,” a recent UF/IFAS media release stated.
“The disconnect begins in early education, a time when school faculty, staff and students do not discuss agricultural careers as part of the traditional STEM curriculum,” the release added. It stated that UF/IFAS researchers have developed outreach programs to improve agricultural literacy and increase career interest among youth.
For example, UF/IFAS entomologists developed a youth outreach program to raise awareness of the risk that invasive species bring to Florida and the career opportunities available in the field. There are a wide variety of career opportunities in agriculture, for example in plant biosecurity.
“A lot of kids were surprised that you could be a scientist working in agriculture,” said …..
Learn mopre about Increasing Agriculture Literacy on the Citrus Industry website.