Agriculture – Useless College Degree Part 2

According to UrbanDictionary.com a Yahoo can be described as “anyone who is uncultured, ignorant, or stupid…of lower intelligence” or as “an uneducated person with a backwoods mentality.” I find it ironic that Yahoo Education would come out with a story citing Agriculture (No.1) (and two associated degree programs: Animal Science (No.4) and Horticulture (No.5)) as one of the most useless college degrees in today’s employment outlook. To be fair the author of the story (don’t worry he’s a crazy, job-quitting sailor. His words. Not Mine.) was pulling from the National Association of Colleges and Employers‘ (NACE) 2012 Job Outlook study.

There’s nothing that make a man any more mad than to take a stab at the heart of his lifestyle and passion, and boy is the Agriculture community shouting back at this story! A very similar story came out last Spring from the Daily Beast (where was the response then?). The story ranked Animal Science (No.20), Agriculture (No.3), and Horticulture (No.2) as some of the most useless degree programs. I shared my thoughts here and many of you responded. This year’s report came out on a notably higher profile web page and traffic will likely be higher.

A few questions I have for the survey:

  • How were the rankings figured with growth in expected hires and a consistent impact on GNP?
  • Why are degree areas so limited? Areas like Animal Science encompass so many more jobs than Scientists (breed associations, consultants, ranchers… the list could continue all day).
  • Were factors considered like the aging population of production agriculture and the need for younger members?
  • And… eh it’s not worth it. Just come with me one day to visit a few farms, ranches, and agriculture supporters then you decide what impact they have on world food production. Then leave us to enjoy life soaking up the environment that surrounds us.

The study didn’t do near the justice to all of the possibilities that are encompassed by a degree in agriculture related fields. If you follow my blog at all, you’ll already recognize that modern farmers and ranchers wear many hats when on the job. Did you check out the following storyon Yahoo? It listed the most versatile jobs in America: Environmentalist, Entrepreneur, Pharmaceutical, Human Resources, Accountant. Pretty sure farmers and ranchers must have knowledge in all of those roles. Most Effective Degrees? Yeah that’s another Yahoo story on the same page. Jobs include Business Administration, Psychology, Accounting, Information Technology, Health Care. Yeah I can see farmers and ranchers utilizing these skills as well. Farmers and Ranchers are just one sector of all the possibilities in Agriculture.  Then there were the online degrees, but I think you get the idea.

Heck, I’m in my 5th year of college education just trying to learn what there is to cattle production, and I still have a few years of school and a lifetime of learning in the pasture to do. Even then I won’t know it all. I got a good job secured a few months prior to graduation and felt like I was behind. I know there’s a good job demand out there. People have to eat. And someone has to know how to produce that food. Agriculture, Animal Science, and Plant studies aren’t going anywhere any time soon. And I’ll bet a steak on that.

Agriculture… It’s about feeding a growing global population
…And learning hands-on about life’s processes (or in my case hands-in)
…And other times it’s about taking care of this great big Earth with which God Provided us!

“Agriculture, It’s more than part of life. It’s a passion, a lifestyle, a resilient community that works hard to feed the world!” — Ryan Goodman

Do you have a degree in an Agriculture related field? Where has your life involved with Agriculture taken you?

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