In an effort to help support growth in agriculture, the Kansas Department of Agriculture is calling on industry partners to help identify workforce needs among agricultural employers in the state by conducting the first Kansas Agriculture Workforce Needs Assessment Survey.

In an effort to help support growth in agriculture, the Kansas Department of Agriculture is calling on industry partners to help identify workforce needs among agricultural employers in the state by conducting the first Kansas Agriculture Workforce Needs Assessment Survey.

Kansas agribusinesses, manufacturers and producers of agricultural products are all being asked to complete the survey to help KDA identify the number and types of jobs, and specific skills required for those jobs in agriculture.

Pointing to a five-year projection from USDA and Purdue University that found there will be 22,500 more new jobs per year than there will be agriculture graduates across the country, Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Jackie McClaskey said a key challenge in agriculture today is not a lack of jobs, but finding employees who are trained and prepared for those jobs.

“We’ve heard from individual employers in agriculture that need help finding employees as their farms, ranches or agribusinesses grow and expand,” said Secretary McClaskey. “This survey will help us better understand the employment needs of all employers in agriculture, and hopefully, help promote long-term growth in Kansas agriculture.”

McClaskey said this survey will be used as a catalyst to begin the work of creating or redirecting training programs in an effort to keep the workforce involved in agriculture locally and statewide. The survey is currently being offered online at http://agriculture.ks.gov/workforce but also can be mailed to those who request a paper version.

“Agriculture accounts for 43 percent of the state’s economy and 12 percent of the state’s workforce,” said Russell Plaschka, KDA workforce development specialist. “We need to identify the specific jobs available and the skills needed. Then, we will work with industry and education partners to close specific skill gaps between education and the workplace.”

KDA is focused on serving Kansas farmers, ranchers, agribusinesses and the consumers/customers they serve. A current priority is growing agriculture in the state, eliminating barriers to growth, developing workforce and building marketing activities in-state, out-of-state and globally.

For more information on the survey, visit http://agriculture.ks.gov/workforce.