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Skills Needed in the Agricultural Workforce

U.S. employers report challenges in finding suitable job candidates with work-ready skills to fill open roles in the agri-food industry. surveyed those employers to gain deeper insights into the skills they seek and identify the most significant skill gaps in the workforce. Employers ranked “problem solving and decision making” as the most necessary skills for all employees, followed by “organization and planning skills,” and “teamwork.” Problem-solving and decision-making were also identified as areas with the most significant gap for both current employees and new graduate hires. Only 18 percent of U.S. employers said that new graduate hires were adequately prepared with work-ready skills upon hire, whereas 76 percent said experienced new hires were equipped with those skills.

Survey data also examined industry-specific skills required for employee success, such as sustainability, data science, and food science. Results indicate the biggest knowledge needs were in agronomy and precision agriculture, and animal sciences.

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