The Coalition for a Sustainable Agricultural Workforce (CSAW) is challenging federal lawmakers to support U.S. agriculture and to help prevent the spread of misconceptions related to the sector. It’s also asking for increased support for agricultural research and education funding, especially as challenges to feed the global population will only increase.
Research and education funding is directly responsible for advances in agriculture that have spanned more than a century and increased production, reduced costs and made food safer and healthier. Today, with tight governmental budgets and a populace further removed from agriculture, funding and support is in jeopardy.
CSAW is a novel partnership of more than 10 professional scientific societies and 20 agricultural companies formed to promote the education and training of future generations for the agricultural workforce.
In a letter sent to U.S. Senate and House members of the Appropriations Subcommittees on Agriculture, CSAW outlined the issues currently at play:
- Unprecedented challenges exist to produce sufficient food, feed and fiber. In the next 40 years, it's anticipated that agriculture must produce more food than has been produced over the past 10,000 years combined.
- A growing body of data documents a significant demand for relevantly skilled and internationally astute students to enter the workforce in agricultural and food-related jobs in the next decade. Retirements alone will necessitate replacement of more than 50 percent of the agricultural scientific workforce in government and industry within the next decade.
- Agricultural scientific disciplines report a decline in the number of highly qualified students entering their fields. Students with high intellectual capacity and interest in the fundamental sciences need to be made aware of the opportunities to work with food and environmental issues.
- For a more sustainable future, we must prepare new scientists to bring novel and revolutionary approaches to agro-ecosystem management.
CSAW contents that decisive action is needed to stop the misconceptions and increasingly narrow view of agriculture, as referenced in the recent Internet article by Yahoo! regarding useless degrees in agriculture, horticulture, and animal science. (You can find out more here.)
?Federal and State investment in agricultural sciences with increased research funding and student support is critical,” CSAW says. “Along with the scientific agricultural community's involvement and CSAW's initiatives, this message can be turned around.”
CSAW encourages all members of the scientific agricultural community to contact their State and Federal legislative representatives and reinforce the right message. To view the CSAW letter sent to the U.S. Senate and House members of the Appropriation Subcommittees on Agriculture, click here.
Learn more about CSAW here.