It seems like agriculture in Michigan just can't catch a break. First the drought, now a growing labor shortage.
The industry is desperately seeking highly skilled workers with four-year degrees, for jobs including supply chain managers and grain market analysts. But not enough college students are going into agriculture.
"You get a student, let me say from Detroit, coming to Michigan State for a finance degree. They're thinking Wall Street, they're thinking New York. They're not thinking Monsanto or Archer Daniel Midland or Cargill,” says Larry Zink, an industry specialist at Michigan State University.
"The ag and food industry is not a sexy industry,” he says. “So it's not a place that people typically look for employment that are not from, kind of, the rural sectors.”
Zink says the rural population is shrinking, so the key is to attract interest from a wider group of students.
Plenty of un-sexy industries have linked up with community college programs, and that’s starting with agriculture, says Jim Byrum, president of the Michigan Agri-Business Association.
"Community Colleges are waking up to it, no doubt about it,” he says. “So are four year colleges. The challenge is, we need people today."
Byrum says half of all agriculture managers will retire in the next few years.