A bright future on the horizon…

Connecting Industry, Government, and Education for Transforming the Agricultural Workforce of the Future.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Hispanic population is projected to grow significantly over the next 10 years and into the future. In just three decades, Hispanics are projected to reach 73 million or about 20.1% of the entire US population. By 2050, Hispanics will account for over 30% of the total population in the United States.

Economically, Hispanics are the fastest growing minority group. Latinos will be an economic buying powerhouse in the domestic economy to the tune of almost $1.4 trillion in 2013. According to the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia, Hispanics experienced a 349 percent increase in purchasing power from 1990 to 2008, compared to 151 percent increase in purchasing power by all non-Hispanic consumers. The Hispanic buying power will be the fastest growing of all groups in the years to come.

Hispanics are also a relatively young group. The 2006 American Community Survey, reported the Hispanic population of 18 years old and younger as 33.8% of the total versus a 21.3% for the non-Hispanic white population. Hispanics accounted for a low 5.3% in the 65 and older group as compared to 15.2 % of the non-Hispanic white population. In short, the Hispanic population is very young.

However, based on 2008 data from the Food and Agricultural Education Information System (FAEIS), enrollment data for minorities was alarming. There were a total of 251,422 students enrolled in Agricultural related fields with minority students constituting a small percentage. Overall enrollment for Hispanics was 4.5 percent or 11,353 students in 2008. As is evidenced by the FAEIS self-reporting system by colleges and universities, the United States continues to struggle in recruiting students from underrepresented groups into Agriculture, Food, Natural Resources, and Life Sciences.

Statistics for minority students enrolling in agriculture is alarming. We must do better in reaching out to underrepresented groups. Hispanics will impact the future of our society and will have the potential to impact Agriculture. We must do a better job of educating and informing Latinos of the opportunities afforded to them in Agriculture in order to stay competitive in the marketplace.

Given the rapidly changing demographics and the low numbers of Hispanic students entering Agriculture, it is time to explore ways to address this crisis. Please join us to address some of the above issues and explore ways of working together to engage in a deliberate and collaborative effort to improve Hispanic/Latino representation in the Agricultural related industries.