Higher education should be a key component of the state’s plan to increase agricultural productivity, Gov. Bill Haslam said Tuesday at the Tennessee Agriculture Leadership Forum.
“Agriculture is changing,” Haslam said during his speech at the Embassy Suites in Murfreesboro, and people in rural areas are far less likely to have education beyond high school than those in urban areas.
Haslam said that trend has to change for agriculture to succeed. After his speech, the governor released a draft of a 10-year strategic plan for agriculture development.
The agriculture industry in Tennessee generates $71 billion in revenue — from producers to consumers — and employs more than 363,000 people, according to the Tennessee Department of Labor’s 2013 Agriculture Outreach Plan.