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Study maps future workforce demands of Missouri’s economic driver: agriculture industries

Deliberate statewide planning and action will help ensure stability for Missouri’s economy.

Oct. 6, 2020

Over the next decade, Missouri’s food, agriculture and forestry industries are projected to generate 13,000 job openings each year. Deliberate statewide planning and action will ensure a globally competitive workforce for employers in these industries that are foundational to Missouri’s economy.

A study recently published by University of Missouri Extension — Workforce Needs Assessment of Missouri’s Food, Agriculture and Forestry Industries — charts a way forward to address challenges these industries face over the next decade and address their long-term workforce development needs.

“This study lays the groundwork for leaders in the business, government and education sectors to work together on a plan to promote and expand educational opportunities and existing programs to new regions and audiences, and to find ways to invest in rural communities,” said MU Vice Chancellor for Extension and Engagement Marshall Stewart.

The food, agriculture and forestry sectors alone contribute more than $88 billion to the state’s economy — roughly 15% of the total state output. As the global demand for food continues to rise, states like Missouri must be ready to increase their production to stay competitive. Doing so will require multiple strategies, including the development of a next-generation agricultural workforce, said the study’s lead author, Mark White, associate extension professor with MU Extension’s Labor and Workforce Development Program and the Truman School of Public Affairs.

Read more from MU Extension

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