MADISON (WKOW) -- Connor Willems, a senior in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at UW-Madison is examining the feed rations for the cows at the UW dairy barn.
Connor said, "I think coming into college I really liked chemistry, and in nutrition there's…there's quite a bit of chemistry in that, so it was kind of a good match in that way."
Connor didn't grow up on a farm, but had friends in high school who did. Joining FFA and 4-H put him on the path towards a career in agriculture.
"I have accepted a job with Cargill Animal Nutrition. I've interned with them the last two summers, and so that led into a job offer that I have accepted," said Connor.
John Klatt, Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs for UW-Madison, says most students in the Dairy Science program have an accepted job offer before graduation, or shortly thereafter.
"When we look at a program like Dairy Science we know that our students last year, 75 percent of them, had accepted jobs or were accepted into graduate or professional programs at the time of graduation," said John.
A recent USDA employment assessment reviewing undergraduate job availability estimated that there would be almost 58,000 jobs available in agriculture, with 50% in business and management, about 25% in STEM, or Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, and approximately 15% in food science and biomaterials.
John said, "Dairy Sciences enrollment over the last five years has grown I think by about fifteen percent. Our biological systems engineering program has grown by leaps and bounds, they're up by about 35 percent."
Which means demand for jobs in agriculture is exceeding the number of candidates available. For Connor Willems, it means a guaranteed job right after graduation.
"I'm really excited to start my career! I think you know I have the drive to really go into that and have some success!" said Connor.
The number of women entering the agricultural field is increasing at a rate of about 65% of overall enrollment in the dairy sciences program. The Assistant Dean notes that careers in Plant Sciences, Agronomy, and Plant Genetics are in high demand.