Last night I attended the South Dakota State University Ag/Bio Career Fair. With over 90 companies represented, I was overwhelmed by the agri-business in one building. As I made the rounds, I saw representatives from processing plants, feedlots, pharmaceutical companies, and governmental agencies, feed companies and hog units. I realized the sky is certainly the limit in agricultural career opportunities.
I thought back to the days where I didn't believe there were opportunities in agriculture for young people. When my roommates and I returned from the career fair, we gathered around the table for an always welcome steak supper and discussed the events of the fair. One of my roommates is an agronomy student, another is an ag education major and the third roomie is an animal science student. Obviously, we each have different areas of interest and different careers to explore.
As we excitedly exchanged notes last night, I realized that we all had something in common: not one of us was planning on going home to our farms. Well, at least, we didn't accept it as a real career possibility anyway. Times are definitely tough right now in the cow/calf sector of our industry, but I'm positive things will start looking up. And, the current outlook is definitely the most difficult for young people trying to stay involved in livestock production. Now is the time to start thinking about how to incorporate your next generation into your family's business plan. How will they slowly take over the business? Can you trade manual labor and daily chore help for the gradual earnings of land and livestock? These are definitely some issues and challenges to contemplate.