This morning an article titled “College Majors that are Useless” appeared on Yahoo. Sadly this article includes three agriculture degrees – Agriculture, Animal Science and Horticulture – which do not deserve to be placed on such a list. I suppose the author must not be worried about eating or wearing clothes. As is typical in an attack on agriculture, the research and science is on our side.
FACT: Agriculture majors are in demand. Take a look at this report from the Center of Excellence. http://www.coeccc.net/Environmental_Scans/ag_scan_cv_11.pdf Overall, jobs in agriculture are expected to grow by 180,000 positions in California alone over the next five years. These numbers take into account the decrease in production jobs as a result of increasing efficiencies and mechanization.
FACT: Careers in Agriculture are well paid. The Center of Excellence found that in California careers pay an annual salary of $50,000 compared to the California average of $43,000.
FACT: The world population hit 7 billion in 2011. The population is expected to keep growing, but our limited resources will not grow. The professionals in agriculture will continue to work to produce more food on less land and using fewer resources. This will require more people working to make this happen.
So before deciding that a degree in agriculture is anything but a great route to a future career in a tremendously important industry, please review the facts. Oh, and maybe thank a farmer and all the agricultural professionals who provided the food for your table today, probably the shoes you are wearing and clothes on your back. I think I heard once that “hungry and naked” is where we would be without agriculture.