URBANA, Ill. — Agricultural companies are always on the hunt for good employees, but those with college educations can be hard to find. Todd Gleason reports from the Illinois State Fair that the world’s largest options and futures exchange is hoping to inspire a few more kids to further their education.
The CME Group, for the third year in a row at the Illinois State Fair, is providing the kids showing the Grand Champion animals $5000 scholarships for their education funds. This year says CME’s Tim Andriesen they’ve upped that ante a bit and will also provide nine $1000 scholarships. He says this is because agriculture will need a lot of really bright people to provide food for the planet.
Andriesen: The U.N. will tell you that there will be nine-billion people to feed in 2050. That is going to require a lot of growth in agriculture. It will require smart people who understand the technology and at the same time understand how to market and manage risk around the production that they are going to develop.
This year the scholarships went to kids like Dax Gentes. He’s 12 and showed the Champion Meat Rabbit Pen and Kadie Hummel, age10. Her goat was a champion, too. Their parents will put away the scholarship money, and maybe in the future they’ll see Tim Andriesen from the CME Group and tell him thanks.
Andriesen: Certainly we go to ag events around the state and run into kids that say, “You know that was fantastic. I’m a sophomore at the University of Illinois studying ag econ, and I really appreciate getting that scholarship from you.
A scholarship that helps provide an education, and most assuredly a lifetime career. USDA, in a 2015 study, said there are about 58,000 high-skill job openings in U.S. agriculture each year, but only around 35,000 U.S. graduates with bachelors degrees or better to fill those jobs.
— Tim Andriesen, Managing Director Agricultural Products – CME Group
Todd Gleason, Farm Broadcaster, University of Illinois Extension
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