The Need for the Right Education in Ag

Is college really worth it? 

It’s hard to believe we’d ever have this conversation about such a long-standing institution and essential component to our professional careers. But, thanks to the rising cost of college and student debt, many students and their parents are taking a hard look at whether a college education is truly worth it. 

The conversation around a college degree is more nuanced than people think. Read on to learn about why ag employers are looking for candidates with great educations but are having to adjust to the hard cost/benefit realities of the traditional 4-year college degree. 

The key to success for both recent graduates and ag employers could be as simple as bringing them together in unique ways.  

College Educations And Professional/Executive Roles 

Clearly, the necessity of a college degree depends on your career path. If you’re planning on a lucrative career as an executive or professional in agriculture, the short answer is, yes! Emphatically yes, college degrees are highly important — especially when 42 percent of employers say it is difficult to find “qualified” recent graduates. 


On the one hand, a college degree is considered by many to be essential “table stakes” in securing a role as an executive or professional in many fields, including agriculture. However, ag employers are having to face a hard reality that is changing the landscape of recruiting in the industry. Recently, a study by Georgetown University predicted that soon, the postsecondary system will produce 3 million fewer college graduates than what the labor market needs. In that same study, it was found that nearly 2/3 of all U.S. jobs will require some level of advanced postsecondary education. 

So what’s to be done? 

Bridging The Gap Between Ag Employers And Students 

We have a gap somewhere between what employers indicate they want, and what students are finding upon graduation. We need to bridge that gap together. 

More ag employers are developing attractive roles with benefits and incentives that make their candidate’s college degree relevant. It’s a simple question of economics. Today’s students want to know if it will be worth the hefty price tag to chase the educations and degrees that are critical to executive and professional positions in the field. 

They don’t want to be stuck paying off steep student loans for years. They want jobs that pay well, that can get them out of debt and improve their quality of life more rapidly than historically has been the case.  

But ambitious students should also take note: Ag employers offering the best jobs are looking for a unique candidate who can bring their business success. To gauge whether you’ll be the best, most successful recruit, hiring managers will be looking at the experience you gained, and the initiative and drive you demonstrated during your college years.  

Here are some top identifying factors hiring managers will be seeking: 

Involvement and interactivity with others 

Professional candidates must be able to demonstrate they’ve been able to work well with others, whether that is a group of students or coworkers. Employers want to see evidence their candidate has started a workplace initiative from scratch, solved pressing issues and completed them, yielding a desirable outcome.  

Creative analytical skills 

More than just solving problems, creative analytical skills are about first being able to diagnose a problem, identify the cause, and develop a solution that creates a positive conclusion. 


Employers are looking for candidates who can get along with others, and part of this is communication. Specific identifiers to positive communication skills include casual comfort with public speaking, debate or forensics, and especially a history of working in and succeeding in marcom (marketing-communications) fields. 

Marketing and graphics 

An ability to create simple and beautiful infographics is becoming increasingly valuable for professional agriculture candidates. If you can convert complex business models or ideas into pictures or graphics, make sure you bring that to your interview! You’ll be glad you did. 


This is especially important for candidates in the credit/finance industry sector. Fiscal responsibility is critical. You must first be able to handle your own finances before a company offers you the responsibility of handling their finances. This is why many employers are now checking credit scores prior to hiring. 

Professional writing skills 

Proper grammar skills are crucial. Far too many people struggle with being able to write or create a quality cover letter. But today’s Ag candidates should, at the very least, be able to produce either a cover letter or a report that doesn’t look like a text message.  


The value that internships can bring to your resume cannot be understated. Employers love to see ample real-world experience on a resume, and they will want to talk with references related to that experience. 

International experience and additional language skills 

World trade is more connected than ever. More and more companies are vying to do business across multiple borders and various languages. Bilingual candidates or job seekers with international experience are exactly what today’s agriculture employers are looking for. 

Ag 1 Brings Candidates And Employers Together 

Nobody understands the realities recent graduates are facing and the tough job market ag employers are navigating to find the candidates they need. At Ag 1, we have built our business on our unique talent for bringing qualified candidates together with employers who are looking for the best and brightest talent in the field.  

For employers and candidates seeking the top executive and professional positions in ag, we want you to meet. If you’re ready to learn more about how we can help, contact us today.