Friday, January 20, 2012

Agriculture Degrees Are VALUABLE

So my blood was boiling as well as many others of you who have agricultural degrees when Yahoo posted a blog by Terence Loose entitled College Majors That Are Useless and Agriculture topped the list at #1. But the more perplexing thing was that Animal Science and Horticulture were broken out separately from Agriculture and came in at #4 and #5. That tells me a little something about Mr. Loose and the experts that he is using considering most if not all Animal Science and Horticulture degree majors fall under Agricultural Colleges or Departments in most colleges, universities, junior colleges, technical schools and community colleges; especially when they define the #1 Useless Major: Agriculture as coursework in crops, plant diseases, animal husbandry, basic veterinary science (both of the last two would definitely be Animal Science related).

As a blogger myself I know that there is some opinion on sources and information so I am not going to take a swing at Mr. Loose and his experts or the Department of Labor's numbers. Instead I want to remind everyone about a couple things: 1. how statements can be used in beneficial ways and 2. how important agriculture is to your every day life.

  1. Statements can be used in beneficial ways: It would have been pretty simple for the title of this blog to have been College Majors with Fewest Job Opportunities (if in fact these are the top majors for that) vs. College Majors that Are Useless. Now the word useless as defined by an online source is; being of having no beneficial use; futile or ineffective. No use huh? Well that brings me to my second point...
  2. How important is agriculture to your every day life: Do you eat? Then very important. Do you wear natural fiber clothing? Then very important. Do you wear make-up? Then very important. Do you wear leather shoes, carry leather handbags, have leather seats in your car? Then very important. Agricultural touches everyone's lives world wide. It affects you if you choose to eat conventionally raised foods or organic foods; if you are a grocery store shopper or have your own garden in your back yard; you prefer grass fed beef or corn fed beef. There are many parts of agriculture that are often forgotten about like those that are trying to help feed a growing world population with a decreasing farm land mass. Those that are trying to find alternative fuel sources through bio fuels reducing our dependence on foreign oil fuels. Those that are trying to increase the nutrient value of foods by altering the genetics of those foods from the seed source.
I am an ag major, proud graduate from the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources with a General Agriculture degree and have had a job from the moment I graduated from college steady through today almost 10 years later in agriculture but not on the production side. My brother is also a graduate from Missouri State University with an Animal Science degree and the University of Missouri with his Veterinary Medicine Degree and works in a very important side of animal production without being directly involved in agriculture production through his chosen profession but we both are active on the farm so possibly could be considered farm managers.

As an employer I manage a marketing team of seven people who are focused every day on agriculture but not focused on daily production. I do look for agricultural majors when making hiring decisions and I think they are not useless employees but bright, hard working and educated individuals who are working in a field they are excited and passionate about...agriculture, the industry that feeds and clothes us.

Here are a series of posts with Ag Facts in them I did last summer:
Ag Fact About Corn
Ag Fact About Pork
Ag Fact About Farms
Ag Fact About Wheat

So this blog was more therapeutic for me than anything else. I hope those of you who may have considered Mr. Loose's blog to be very enlightening will think again about the uselessness of an agriculture degree. I'm sure Mr. Loose has received many disgruntled messages from angry aggies across the country. If the title was used for hype and attention, it worked, and it gave us in the ag industry the perfect platform to share our stories with the world. Thanks for the attention, we love it!


  1. I have a career day coming up at my school on Feb. 24th. Would you be interested in coming to speak? I know you are a very busy person but I thought I would give it a shot. This blog just made me even more sure that I wanted to ask you. :)
    -Sarah Randall

  2. I would love to! I'll send you a note on Facebook to follow up on details!