A partnership with Bright Crop works to transform the perception of the agricultural industry in the United Kingdom.
When more than 1,500 young people in the United Kingdom were asked if they would consider a career in food or farming, a staggering 96% said no. Survey respondents called these jobs “boring,” “old-fashioned” and “low-paying”—descriptions that agribusinesses like Cargill need to challenge in order to attract top young talent. Over the next decade, agribusiness will need more than 60,000 new employees, making it critical to provide a different, more realistic perspective to young adults in the UK.
“Agriculture isn’t just farming. There are thousands of different career paths…and each one is just as important to [feeding] the world.”— Luke Walsh, Trainee Electrical Engineer, Cargill
To showcase the wide variety of opportunities available in the agriculture and food supply industries, Cargill and a number of other agribusinesses have partnered with Bright Crop, an organization that promotes careers in agriculture to young adults. Bright Crop’s mission is to inspire young people to consider careers in food and farming, inform them of the diverse skills needed to succeed, and connect them to a network of passionate Bright Crop Ambassadors who work in these industries. All under the age of 35, the Ambassadors paint a more modern portrait of food and farming, and more importantly, help portray the industry as exciting and relatable.
Among the dozens of young professionals featured on the Bright Crop website are four employees from Cargill’s UK businesses. The four describe their roles candidly and in detail: raising chickens, shipping cotton around the world, working at an oilseed crushing plant, and monitoring high- and low-voltage distribution systems at a starches and sweeteners facility.
But Bright Crop’s work goes well beyond the internet. The program encourages employees from its partner organizations to volunteer as STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Ambassadors, who can help foster interest in these critical subjects during students’ school years.
To date, more than 30 Cargill employees have become STEM Ambassadors in the UK, attending career fairs, giving talks in schools and conducting mock interviews to help prepare interested students. In addition, John Reed, agricultural director for Cargill’s meats business in Europe, serves on the program’s steering committee, representing Cargill’s many food and agriculture divisions in the UK.
For Cargill, supporting Bright Crop is an opportunity to highlight the company’s vast opportunities and to change what the future of agribusiness looks like. And it is an effort that is working: since launching, 3,500 young people have had direct contact with a Bright Crop Ambassador, and of those, 33% more have indicated they would now say “yes” to a job in food and farming.