Educational leader says enrollment for ag-related majors is up due to labor shortage

The chancellor of a midwestern land-grant university says the national labor shortage has created strong demand for students to enroll in ag-related majors.

Nebraska’s Ronnie Green tells Brownfield enrollment is at its highest level and the trend started in 2012. “There was a deficit nationally in the number of students to fill the number of jobs across all sectors of agriculture.  That gap still exists.  It’s not as marked as it was say in 2016 and 2017, but there’s still a deficit.”

He says internships help close the gap, but there aren’t enough to fill the demand in some cases. “Just the scale of it and making sure we can help connect those experiences for our students may seem at first like the biggest hurdle – the number and scale of that.”

At Nebraska, Green says there’s a university-wide goal for every student that graduates by 2025 to have one paid internship, international experience and work with faculty in a research program. “We have a very robust internship program and ag is one of the leaders on our campus in terms of students that go through paid internships.  Maybe one, two or even three within the time of the students’ undergraduate career in achieving their goals.”

Green spoke with Brownfield at Nebraska Extension’s field day at Haskall Lab near Concord.

Chancellor Ronnie Green:

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