New "Leading Nebraska" podcast spotlights UNL success in growing the ag workforce

November 15, 2019

The University of Nebraska today released a new episode of its “Leading Nebraska” podcast series, highlighting the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s success in growing a skilled agricultural workforce for the state.

Agriculture is Nebraska’s No. 1 industry, supporting 1 out of every 4 jobs in the state. Those jobs aren’t only in farming and ranching, but also in business, science, technology and many other related fields.

And UNL faculty, staff, students and alumni are helping to lead the way in filling the state’s critical workforce needs.

“When it comes down to it, we need the best and the brightest students to fill those positions within agriculture, because of the critical need that this planet has for the right people to be making the right decisions with our natural resources and also have the ability to feed a growing world population,” Matt Kreifels, associate professor of practice in UNL’s Department of Agriculture, Leadership, Education and Communication, says in the podcast.

“There are very few professions where we get to make magic happen to fill an economic need, to equip an industry, but also to help students find a passion and find their futures and chart their courses.”

After graduating from UNL, Nebraska native Toni Rasmussen began her teaching career in Wayne, where she started an ag education program for high schoolers. Similar efforts are in place in schools across the state; last fall almost 200 Nebraska schools offered ag education classes, the majority of which were led by Husker graduates.

“There’s a ton of opportunity for students not only in Wayne, but across the state and across the nation, either in production ag, or ag business, or food science,” Rasmussen says. “It’s not only being a farmer, which is great, and a lot of kids are headed that way. But there’s a lot more you can do and act on, and we need that talent.”

NU launched the “Leading Nebraska” podcast this fall to share stories of researchers, students and educators across the four campuses who are growing the state’s workforce and quality of life. New episodes of “Leading Nebraska” will be released monthly and will feature experts from UNL, the University of Nebraska Medical Center, University of Nebraska at Kearney and University of Nebraska at Omaha. Topics will include nursing, agricultural education, counterterrorism, healthcare, K-12 education, workforce development, cybersecurity and others.

Listeners may follow the “Leading Nebraska” podcast here.

Media Contact:
Melissa Lee
Director of Communications,
University of Nebraska