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The Zee Learning Podcast

Sep 13, 2020

Dr. Sue Raftery is the CEO of TechEDGE, a startup focused on the sector of agriculture technology, also known as agtech. A farmer’s daughter with a Ph.D. from The Ohio State University College of Agriculture, Sue drew on her years of experience in continuing education, founding three online universities, and in workforce development to launch TechEDGE, an agtech eLearning startup bringing agriculture education into the 21st century. 

There are many reasons why the agricultural sector is, in a surprising twist of irony, on the rise in the year 2020. With widespread job displacement caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the rapid adoption of remote work, and frustration with life in lockdown, cities have begun to lose a lot of their appeal. Some city dwellers have started to seriously consider country living as a quieter, less stressful, and cost-effective alternative. 

While America started out as an agrarian nation, the Industrial Revolution led to the well-known rural flight from farms to cities and more densely populated areas. Now, with WiFi making it possible to work from anywhere as well as the catastrophic loss of millions of manufacturing jobs over the past two decades due to outsourcing overseas, more and more Americans are returning to their agrarian roots. 

In recent years, there has been tremendous growth in agricultural technology. The American farmer will need a new set of skills in order to compete and farms will need to adapt. While the question of whether or not technological innovation and automation will replace the need for human workers remains debated, Dr. Sue Raftery is optimistic, and with good reason. The explosive growth of agtech has caused a vacuum in the workforce, necessitating more people with the knowledge and skills required to master and harness this new technology. 

To cater to this new demand and train a new generation of farmers and horticulturalists, Sue launched TechEDGE, which provides over 1100 online and offline micro-courses in agriculture and horticulture as well as other vocations, teaching students cutting edge methods and technologies. 

Learn more about AgTechEDGE: