Study: More trained scientists needed to feed world

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A study released by the Coalition for a Sustainable Agriculture Workforce (CSAW) shows that too few scientists are being trained in agricultural areas of science. The study shows that life sciences and agricultural industry companies anticipate increasing hiring trained scientists over the next several years, but there is growing concern that they will not be able to find suitable candidates for the jobs available. This challenge is all the more critical due to the need to double the global food supply to meet the needs of a growing population. The agriculture field is also challenged with limited water and arable land, climate variation, and lower budgets for research.

The research shows companies expect to hire more than 1,000 scientist-level employees through 2015, representing 13% of their current agricultural scientist workforce. The largest numbers of scientists, 84% of the total, are needed in the disciplines of plant sciences, plant breeding/genetics, and plant protection. Nearly half of those hired will need doctoral degrees.

CSAW was organized by a consortium of agribusiness companies and scientific societies to promote the education and training of future generations of the agricultural workforce. These preliminary data suggest there may be not only long-term skills and training issues, but also very near-term issues to hire the staff needed for the work required.

A summary report as well as the full census is available from CSAW through the website at www.sustainableagworkforce.org.


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