sealPurdue News

October 8, 1999

Purdue ag grads find niche in job market

Sources: Allan Goecker, (765) 494-8473;
Ron Thielen, (612) 593-7362

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Placement remains strong for Purdue University agriculture graduates, with 94 percent reporting they've either found employment or are continuing their education since graduation last May.

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Allan Goecker, assistant dean and associate director of academic programs in Purdue's School of Agriculture, announced the results of his 1999 May Graduate Placement survey at the annual career fair Tuesday (10/5). The student-run event attracted more than 85 employers to campus to offer jobs and internships in food sciences, agribusiness, landscape architecture, forestry and animal and crop sciences.

Starting salaries for all degree fields averaged $30,318, down $5 from a record high in 1998. For comparison, starting salaries averaged $24,702 in 1995.

By sector, average agricultural and food engineering salaries were up $14 to $41,370. Food science and manufacturing salaries dropped to $34,179 from $34,426 a year ago. Agribusiness management grads averaged $29,328, an increase of $187, and natural resources management salaries were up $2,327, averaging $25,577.

The job titles students reported included traditional agriculture fields plus loan officer, zookeeper, golf course superintendent, environmental consultant, log buyer, recreational trails specialist and quality assurance specialist.

Twenty percent of the 335 respondents continued their education, compared to 17 percent last year. Five percent were still seeking employment, and 1 percent were not looking for work.

The employers at the job fair also were lining up interns for the summer. Ron Thielen of Novartis Seeds. Inc. said the company hires many of its full-time employees from the pool of summer interns. Thielen said he travels a circuit of Midwestern ag schools, offering more than $2,000 per month and a $500 relocation fee for a summer job. "It's become so competitive, if you don't recruit early then the top students will be gone," he said.

Writer: Chris Sigurdson, (765) 494-8415;

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

Related Web site:
Purdue Agriculture Placement Services


Purdue senior Chris Darlage got an on-the-spot interview with Kristy Weber, a representative of the Swift Co., during Purdue's School of Agriculture career fair Tuesday (10/5). Darlage, a native of Seymour, Ind., is majoring in agricultural business management. (Purdue Ag Communication Photo by Tom Campbell)

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