This is the eighth in a series of five-year employment opportunities projections initiated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Former USDA employees, Drs. K. Jane Coulter and Marge F. Stanton, developed the basic methodology that has been used in conducting the series of studies. Some slight modifications of methodology in selecting national degrees conferred and occupations data were used in preparing the 2015-20 employment opportunities report.

We extend special thanks to Andrew Mary of the National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education, for his assistance in obtaining degrees conferred data used in preparing this report.

We acknowledge the very important contributions of the following individuals who served on the advisory panel of experts for the 2015-2020 study.

Project Consultants

  • Antoine J. Alston, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
  • Kirby Barrick, University of Florida
  • Richard A. Cavaletto, California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo
  • Cameron Faustman, University of Connecticut
  • John C. Foltz, University of Idaho
  • Michael C. Gaul, Iowa State University
  • Terry L. Sharik, Michigan Technological University
  • Susan Sumner, Virginia Tech University

We recognize the important review and recommendations of members of the Academic Programs Section of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities and the Non-land-grant Agricultural and Renewable Resources Universities, and those of employers of Food, Agriculture, Renewable Natural Resources, and Environment college graduates.

We acknowledge the excellent services of Russell J. Mersdorf (visual design) and Kenny Wilson (Web communication specialist) in preparing and disseminating this report. Both are with the Agricultural Communication Service, Purdue University.



  • Allan D. Goecker, Purdue University
  • Ella Smith, U.S. Food and Drug Administration
  • J. Marcos Fernandez, Purdue University
  • Ray Ali, U.S. Department of Agriculture, NIFA
  • Rebecca Goetz Theller, Purdue University

This material is based upon work supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under Award No. 14-38837-22371. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.