The agriculture industry is not just about planting seeds and tending to crops; it’s a dynamic field filled with endless opportunities. According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), agriculture and its related industries provide nearly 10.5% of the country’s employment opportunities. This means that if you’re passionate about farming, food production, or agribusiness, there’s a thriving path waiting for you, in the US and abroad.
In a changing world with a climate, the demand for multidisciplinary professionals in this sector has never been greater. An advanced degree can be your ticket to securing a career at the forefront of tackling global food insecurity, the climate crisis and other major events impacting the active production of useful plants or animals in ecosystems that have been created by people. Below are three US universities offering graduate programmes that achieve all of this and more:
Kansas State University
Kansas State University’s Department of Agricultural Economics offers a unique programme that might be just what you’ve been looking for if you’re interested in the food, agribusiness, animal health or companion animal industries. The Master of Agribusiness, or MAB for short, is truly one of a kind. It stands out as the perfect professional degree programme to train managers for one of the most rapidly changing industries today.
This programme is neither an MBA in agribusiness nor an MS in Agricultural Economics. The MAB offers courses in finance, economics and management that are specifically tailored to those working and leading this industry at the intersection of agriculture and business. You’ll learn how to handle not only the financial and managerial aspects of your work but also sharpen your human resources, marketing, and problem-solving skills.
One of the great things about the MAB programme is its flexibility. As an online programme, you can continue working in your current job while enhancing your skills and knowledge. The courses are designed to meet the needs of professionals, addressing real-world challenges and trends in the agriculture sector — the solutions for which you can apply immediately to your current role. The capstone project gets you to identify and analyse a firm-related problem as well.
If you’re not ready to commit to the full MAB programme, K-State also offers individual courses that you can take throughout the year. These courses are open to anyone with a bachelor’s degree and some work experience. Ready to take your agriculture career to the next level? Visit the K-State MAB website to learn more about the programme. Or schedule an Advising Appointment to discover how the MAB can advance your career and receive a waiver code for the online application fee (US$75 in value).
University of California, Davis, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
The College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at the University of California, Davis boasts a number of accolades — ranked #1 in the US and #2 in the world for agricultural sciences and forestry by QS World University Rankings and #1 in agricultural economics and policy research by the Centre for World University Rankings.
Three faculty members are American Association for the Advancement of Sciences Fellows and nine are National Academy of Sciences members. This makes the institution one of the most published and cited US research universities in agricultural sciences, plant and animal sciences, environment/ecology, food science and nutrition, and soil sciences.
Scientists at UC Davis are supported by Agricultural Experiment Station funding, and they focus on agricultural, environmental, as well as human and social sciences. In one case, they found that adding a little seaweed to cattle feed cut greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80%. Researchers also discovered that by simply adding a bright yellow warning label to fruit-flavoured drinks and sweetened beverages in the college cafeteria, they were able to reduce consumption of sugar-sweetened liquids by 14.5%.
There are many more interesting research stories to emerge from the college. In May, when a series of atmospheric rivers and excessive moisture triggered latent pathogens in some almond orchards in California, specialists teamed with farmers to identify pathogens and help with solutions. Researchers also unlocked information about the chicken genome and developed economic solutions for plugging inactive wells in the Gulf of Mexico.
“Our students are outside in this beautiful weather getting hands-on field training in the Arboretum, measuring water levels in rivers, and meeting with farmers,” adds dean Helene Dillard.
Florida A&M University, College of Agriculture and Food Sciences
With a low student-to-faculty ratio affording individual attention for each student, Florida A&M University’s College of Agriculture and Food Sciences (CAFS) is the ideal school to gain the right tools to tackle the challenges of the 21st century. The school’s research centres focus on viticulture and small fruits research, preserving the water quality of North Florida watersheds research, strategic research for the management of invasive pest species; and a livestock and crop improvement programme.
As the land-grant college within Florida A&M University, CAFS has a Cooperative Extension Programme (CEP) that provides research-based information to Florida’s farmers, communities and those in the agriculture business. Exploring both rural and urban areas, the CEP programme aims to improve the quality of life of everyone involved.
CAFS also includes a few outreach programmes that directly help the community. Under Agriculture and Natural Resources, the aim is to increase awareness and make efficient use of Florida’s natural resources by way of educational programmes for smaller-scale producers. “Although our research is geared to solve local problems, many of our research findings also have widespread, global applications,” says Stephen Leong, Associate Dean for Research.
Programmes here empower brilliant, energetic thinkers who are motivated to change the world. They are equipped to understand, tackle, and eventually provide solutions to the challenges of the 21st century worldwide as it relates to global food security and fighting world hunger. Graduate programmes offered here include agribusiness, entomology (MS and PhD), plant science, soil and water, and pre-professional studies.
*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International