April 16, 2012

Agriculture degrees useless? AIA students disagree

By Shannon Wietjes, Nebraska Corn Growers Association intern

“Watching miniscule seedlings peep through the earth for the first time during a hazy, spring mist… experiencing the first steps that a newborn calf takes…or watching streams of golden grain pour into a combine are some of the incredible sights that one without an agricultural background or degree may never experience.”

High school FFA students from across Nebraska met in Lincoln for the 2nd Annual Agricultural Issues Academy recently and discussed issues like a Yahoo! News article, which stated that degrees in agriculture are among the most useless degrees currently.

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The FFA students attending AIA were given the Yahoo! News article and asked to create a rebuttal to it. Statistics such as “according to the 2007 census of agriculture, the fastest growing group of farm operators is those 65 years of age and over” and “agriculture provides jobs for 1.23 million hard working Americans” were shared. AIA students were very interested in this topic as many of them are looking to pursue a degree and career in agriculture after they graduate from high school.

Reading and hearing the responses from the students was a wonderful testament to the future of the agriculture industry. Although the Yahoo! News writer believes degrees in agriculture are useless, these students are wonderful examples of hope and excitement for the agriculture industry.

 One student said, “Without those jobs (in agriculture) we won’t be able to get the country back on its feet, feed the hungry, clothe the naked or climb the unreachable of our country’s potential”. Another student shared, “Funny how a person could deem the field that keeps them alive as being ‘useless’.” These high school FFA students understand the importance of agriculture and are excited to pursue degrees in agriculture and help feed, clothe and move the world forward.

“Cows will never be able to ‘care’ for themselves and corn will not plant itself,” one student explained while discussing that agriculture is a field that will always be important.

Students’ responses ranged from funny to heartwarming, but all of the AIA students articulated the importance of agriculture and shared their excitement to be part of this industry in the future.

Not all of the students that attended AIA live on a farm or ranch, yet they understand the agriculture industry. One student shared this quote that sums up the culture of the agriculture industry and the future the students see in agriculture: “Working all day long isn’t a chore to him because he loves what he does because he is making a difference in the world.”

Although some may think degrees in agriculture are worthless, these students understand the importance of agriculture and are excited to get ag degrees and work in the agriculture industry in the future!

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