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October 26, 1986|BRUCE KEPPEL

The diversity of the Southern California economy shows up in diversity of occupation as well. The state Employment Development Department tracks 357 industries and some 2,000 different occupations ranging from Able Seamen to Yeast Pushers. What follows are brief looks at the employment outlook for other job areas that are key to the Southland's economy. AGRICULTURE

The number of hired farm workers has remained relatively stable in California for the last 35 years, slipping from a peak of about 255,000 in 1957 to about 225,000 today. More dramatic has been the plunge in the number of farmers and unpaid family members, slashed in half over the same period.

The numbers illustrate the transformation of farming in California from a traditional family-oriented vocational way of life to a more capital-intensive, managerially complex and increasingly market-oriented enterprise. "It takes more than interest in growing today to stay in business," observed Howard Rosenberg, an agricultural economist who specializes in personnel management for the University of California Cooperative Extension at Berkeley.

While the curriculum of the state's major agricultural colleges--the Cal Poly campuses in Pomona and San Luis Obispo, Fresno State University and UC Davis--has begun to change to reflect the transformation of agriculture, the only MBA in agriculture is offered by the University of Santa Clara, Rosenberg said. He described existing agricultural curricula as "two-thirds agriculture to one part business" and warned that to prepare the next generation of farmers and farm managers, "we will have to reverse that proportion."

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