Last week I received a link to a story from The Daily Beast, an aggregator news website affiliated with Newsweek. The headline was “20 Most Useless Degrees” and wouldn’t you know it Horticulture (No.2), Agriculture (No.3), Nutrition (No.10), and Animal Science (No.20) made the list. The website laid claim that the first two degree fields would be needing 1.74% and 0.88% fewer jobs in the next 10 years, and an increased need of 9.24% and 13.15% for the second two. Probably not far off, but why would a degree be “useless” if the related field of work is stable or growing? Now before you go and dismiss this web story as another on of those false headline makers, hold on. I believe I have a (somewhat) valid point behind this.
In my work of advocating for Agriculture, food production, and telling my story of life on the ranch, there are always headlines and webstories fueling fear into the minds of consumers about this country’s food system. That fear must be started from a seed. So many headlines that plant that seed of doubt can lead to larger things. So why would we want this seed to ever be planted? I would rather consumers have a seed of truth planted by hearing stories from real farmers first.
The Daily Beast lays claim to 5 million unique monthly views each month. That’s a lot of traffic compared to blog pages like this one from farmers and ranchers. This particular story was shared on Facebook by 6,500+ people. Word gets around. There’s that many people who may have a seed of doubt planted, saying that Agriculture is a dead-end place. Now I’m not sure about you, but I have been taught that Agriculture fields are growing and in demand. Told that Ag companies are looking for more specialists in the fields.
My “useless” Animal Science degree must be the reason for my immense unhappiness, the reason why I am “stuck” doing something I love most in this world – producing beef that ends up on the plates of consumers (like those who write for The Daily Beast none the less). Now I’m sure that some are gonna say this was a wasted effort of reaction to “shock factor” webstory, or maybe some reacted to the Daily Beast story by calling it a pile of bull. Either way, I hope you take a look and understand why it’s important we keep telling the story of food production. There are still many ignorant people out there. Ignorant (lacking awareness) because they have yet to hear the story of food production from real farmers and ranchers. And for the others… Well, in the words of Ron White, “You can’t fix stupid.”