GreenSeam talks agriculture, new program at MNSU

In honor of National Agriculture Day on Tuesday, GreenSeam shared this year’s State of Agriculture Report that focuses on the state of agriculture in our region while also expressing the importance of educating students about agribusiness.

This is GreenSeam’s second year conducting the State of Ag survey that is used to better understand how business, organizations, and leaders view the opportunity and challenges facing agriculture in Minnesota.

GreenSeam says its mission is to elevate our region as the world-class food and agribusiness epicenter as well as shape the future of agriculture, business and communities in the region. 

During the presentation GreenSeam shared the results of the survey data collected pertaining to agribusiness. Included in this survey were farmers, manufacturers, food processors, professional services and more. 

Agriculture is currently the largest business industry segment within the southern Minnesota region with more than $15.3 billion in sales annually according to the GreenSeam website.

Voicing the importance and need for an influx of people going into the agriculture business was one of the key issues discussed in the presentation. 

A recent U.S. Department of Agriculture study suggests that, on an annual basis, they’re going to need around 59,500 individuals entering the Ag industry to maintain production levels. 

Brad Schloesser, Dean of Agriculture at South Central College and Director of the Southern Agriculture Center of Excellence, said educating students is critical to the industry.

“We need to recognize the limited talent in today’s reality,” he said. “We see less individuals growing up on a farm today, which is a valuable asset and experience. One of the things that we need going forward is to expand the awareness and career exploration in agriculture, food, and other natural resources.”

With Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Agribusiness and Food Innovation Program, students are able to explore the variety of career pathways that you can dive into through the agribusiness. 

The Henze Ag Innovators program is one of the programs offered at MNSU that allows students to explore agribusiness and other careers in the food industry. 

Some activities this program offers are participating in Ag-related events and trips, engaging with industry leaders, leadership development activities, and conducting a research project with a company. 

MNSU has a full Ag program which could help in attract more students to this field. 

“We need to attract more people into the industry whether that be through company tours, internships, or speaking to classes directly,” Sam Ziegler, President of GreenSeam, stated. 

Within the survey 65% of the participants said that talent and employees is one of the top three main issues threatening their business’s ability to grow. Other key issues that are facing the Ag industry according to the survey were policy and regulation (69%) and taxes (41%). 

Minnesota is a huge player in the food and agriculture business; some of the top businesses in Minnesota are food/Ag related. 

“There are so many jobs within agriculture careers that are so abundant right now,” said Thom Petersen, Commissioner of Minnesota Department of Agriculture. “One thing that’s interesting is that one farmer generates almost $1 million per business at their farm. Whether it’s in machinery, seeds, or research and development, there are many support systems and jobs for a farm. There are tremendous opportunities within Ag companies and I really encourage students to check it out and see what’s available.”

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