More and more as agricultural jobs change, agriculture education faces teacher shortages.
Several hundred ag education positions go unfilled each year, according to Jay Jackman, executive director of the National Association of Agricultural Educators. To compound the problem, many of the positions that are filled hire underqualified teachers. The national Future Farmers of America (FFA) estimates that 23 percent of 11,000 FFA advisors and teachers have been teaching for under five years.
Nearly 100 new FFA chapters have started across the nation since 2014. This is due in part to the fact that agricultural education programs are becoming more popular in urban and suburban areas.
“Agriculture is not limited to traditional crop production and livestock production,” Jackman said. “As people begin to recognize that agriculture is so much more than traditional farming and ranching, obviously, agriculture begins to expand.”
Career opportunities can include nursery crops, and working with small organic farms, which can exist in cities and suburbs. Hydroponics, floriculture, and golf course management are all part of agricultural curriculum now.