The agriculture world has been abuzz today with the recent posting of an article titled, College Majors That Are Useless, where the generic terms "Agriculture Majors" sits at #1. Sitting at #4 was Animal Sciences and #5 was Horticulture. Oh, where shall I begin?
First off, one cannot major in agriculture. For example at my alma mater, Kansas State University, and most other land grant univerisities, you enroll in a degree program within the College of Ag. Degree programs may include Animal Sciences & Industry, Horticulture, Ag Communications etc. Upon graduation, you may have earned a degree in Agriculture but it is concentrated in a specific area of study.
Does this journalist (I use that term loosely here, because this was horrible, horrible journalism) have any idea who produces his food and fiber or the science behind creating those products? Obviously not. Agriculture produces more than just food - check out this list of ag prodcuts:
-- chewing gum
-- shampoo and conditioner
-- emery boards
-- cotton clothing (got those cotton commericials stuck in your head now?)
-- cake mix
I'd be willing to bet that Mr. Loose (so-called journalist) uses one or more of those items on a regular basis. In addition to all those non-food products, let's not forget that if it weren't for AGRICULTURE, ANIMAL SCIENCE and HORTICULTURE, there would not be a food supply.
Agriculture graduates, regardless of their specific major, are employable in thousands of different job settings. A degree in agriculture is not necessarily indicative of a career as a farm manager. What about agriculture education, academia, meat industry, research, the thousands of veterinary clinics in the U.S., feed processing, ag sales - I could go on and on. Think about the number of agriculture jobs that there isn't even a need for yet? As our population continues to grow, so will our need for producers and people to develop new ways to feed so many people. I would be willing to bet that Terence wouldn't be saying agriculture degrees were useless if he was starving and naked.
There have been a multitude of blog posts and tweets circulate because of this outrageous article. Anna-Lisa Giannini has even created a Facebook group called "I Studied Agriculture and I Have a Job", which already has over 2500 likes. You can also check out these links to other blog posts on the topic:
-- Allen Levine, Dean of the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences at the University of Minnesota wrote a piece of The Huffington Post
-- Food For Thought colleague, Tera Rooney, on the Food For Thought blog
-- An Open Letter to Terence Loose by Rebekah Bowen
-- Greg Henderson of Drover's CattleNetwork, wrote Yahoo! Please Don't Mess with the Goat Ropers
Also, if you want to send your own response to Terence Loose, you can do so by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Let agriculture's voice be heard!
Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~