APS is partnering with several other scientific societies and agricultural industry leaders to generate support to train scientists who will be our future workforce for universities, corporations, and government agencies. At a time when we need to make great advancements in the agricultural, nutritional, and environmental sciences in order to meet our future global food and fuel demands, we are facing the loss of a large percentage of the workforce to retirement over the next five to 10 years. The capacities of universities to train future scientists are being reduced due to budget constraints and fewer research funds. Furthermore, too few students are being attracted to careers in agricultural science.
The Coalition for a Sustainable Agricultural Workforce (CSAW),composed of nine scientific societies and 20 corporations, is calling attention to the critical need to train greater numbers of scientists. This unique partnership of industry and scientific societies is working in parallel with other efforts by universities and corporations. CSAW is focusing on new partnerships to find workable solutions to this huge challenge. With the help of industry, we can further quantify the anticipated employment needs by educational level for each discipline. Moreover, through this effort, we can help recruit qualified students and promote awareness of careers. We have created an initial website (www.sustainable-ag-workforce.org) for CSAW and encourage you to view it. It will be used to report current activities and progress on various CSAW efforts. Over time, we hope to include information on careers, job opportunities, internships, and links to individual companies, university departments, and scientific societies.
Over the last few months, CSAW has had a series of meetings with the USDA and specifically with NIFA. We expect that such a large challenge will require working with many other agencies and political leaders, and we will attain our future workforce through a broad range of solutions. If you have any additional questions or interest in this effort, please contact APS member and past president, James Moyer (firstname.lastname@example.org, +1.919.515.2730), who is taking the lead on this initiative for APS.