On National Agriculture Day, which recognizes and celebrates the abundance provided by agriculture, John Floros, dean of the Kansas State University College of Agriculture and director of K-State Research & Extension, said modern agriculture is not what it used to be.
"Today, only about 1% of the population works at the farm or the ranch to really produce the food that the rest of us consume," Floros said.
Not only are there fewer farmers and ranchers today, but resources are also dwindling at a time when the world population is growing by billions.
Floros said the industry has become very science-, technology- and business-driven. Today's agriculture graduates use a combination of physics, chemistry, biology and engineering.
"The way the agricultural system and the food system work today requires a lot of science and technology," Floros said. "It requires a lot of knowledge in order to be able to deal with all the uncertainty and all the risk that a farmer or a rancher has to deal with today."
For example, according to Floros, most of Kansas State's agricultural students come from urban backgrounds with no knowledge of farming. The demand is so high for these educated agriculturalists that almost 100% of the college's graduates land jobs before or by the time they graduate.