Bridging the skills gap: Universities that produce job-ready Agriculture graduates
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Bridging the skills gap: Universities that produce job-ready Agriculture graduates

“Agriculture is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals, and happiness.”Thomas Jefferson

A high percentage of the world’s population rely on agriculture as a means of living. As well as representing a primary source of food, agriculture helps boost market trade and stands as a cornerstone of the economic system in any given country.

Agriculture goes above and beyond just farming; those who study the field find themselves working in the forestry industry or fruit cultivation, bee keeping and in many other vocations.

“Today, processing, marketing, and distribution of crops and livestock products etc. are all acknowledged as part of current agriculture,” Agricultural Goods explains.

Many prospective students and parents worry about both the cost of education and return on investment after graduation. But pursuing an education in agriculture should leave no graduate short of satisfying work; the US Department of Agriculture has forecast that over the next five years, annual demand for college graduates in the agriculture and food industries will be 57,900 jobs per year. But American agricultural colleges will only be producing about 35,400 graduates per year.

The shortage of graduates with majors in agriculture is currently being filled with graduates from related majors. But those in the hiring seat hold a preference for graduates with firm foundation in agriculture. Many jobs are those that non-agriculture majors can fill, but equipped with a detailed understanding of the discipline, leave readily-equipped with knowledge in the background setting and the technical jargon required by industries that are hiring. As a bonus, it also helps that jobs in the industry pay pretty darn well!

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“According to Payscale.com, operations managers within the field of agriculture earn an average of $60,600 per year, agronomists average $45,500, and IT managers in food and agricultural businesses earn an average of $78,500 per year. Across all jobs in what Payscale defines as agriculture, the starting salary averages $47,300 per year with a $5000 annual bonus,” Jeffrey Dorfman writes for Forbes.

To make things better, agriculture colleges are located in state land-grant universities. This means a much lower cost of tuition than that found at a private college. Thus, students can earn their qualifications in an agricultural field and graduate with very little to no student debt.

Pursuing an education and career in agriculture is surely to bear bountiful fruit and return on investment. We will always have the need to eat, therefore we will always need people producing, processing, transporting, and selling food. Work within this sector pledges a career that certainly never runs dry.

COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES & NATURAL RESOURCES, TEXAS TECH UNIVERSITY

The College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources (CASNR) at Texas Tech University adheres to the highest standards in learning, research and engagement. The college claims a 13-to-1 student to teacher ratio and this, paired with the faculty’s approachability, means all experienced members of staff are respected and easily accessible.

Students who find their studies in Agricultural Education & Communications can look forward to a family-like campus atmosphere. The department offers degrees for those who wish to certify to teach, pursue a leadership or management career, or work in communications for an agricultural company.  Those looking to undertake qualifications in Animal & Food Sciences are given access to leading researchers in their respective fields, including food science, food safety, muscle biology and many more.

la_group  030917-New-Web-HOME-Chess-d-1-1280  Students find a valuable expansion of knowledge, skills and experience in the Department of Agricultural & Applied Economics, learning how to manage food companies, farms, ranches, banks, warehouses and a range of agencies. Graduates go on to play fundamental roles in the decision-making processes of businesses like these, positively impacting the sector as a whole.

The Department of Landscape Architecture offers professional Bachelor of Landscape Architecture and Master’s of Landscape Architecture degrees that are accredited by the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board. This department develops community landscapers through leadership in teaching, learning, research, engagement, planning, design, and advocacy.

The Department of Plant & Soil Science is a student-focused, research-intensive and multidisciplinary department. Students here rely on 34 committed members of faculty, all determined to help them reach their academic goals. Natural Resources Management students can pursue bachelor’s degrees in natural resource management or conservation law enforcement, as well as master’s and doctoral degrees in wildlife, aquatic, and wildlands science and management.

COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES, OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

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The College of Agricultural Sciences at Oregon State is the chief source of knowledge relating to agricultural and food systems, and a leader in the study of natural resources, life sciences, environmental quality, and rural economies.

Currently offering 13 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, the college is a fundamental part of the university’s land-grant mission, creating knowledge to solve problems and discover new opportunities for the future.

Landing in the world’s Top 20 for Agriculture and Forestry in 2017 by QS World University Rankings, students studying at Oregon State can be assured their education is in good hands.

“Academics within the College of Agricultural Sciences prepare the next generation of scientists, managers, and leaders in the fields of food, agriculture, natural resources, and life sciences,” the faculty website notes.

FACULTY OF AGRICULTURE, DALHOUSIE UNIVERSITY

“Located just outside Truro In Bible Hill, Nova Scotia, the Faculty of Agriculture is home to a working farm, almost 1,000 acres of research fields, gardens and greenhouses, and is built on a proud history of industry-leading education and research,” the university website notes.

The faculty is keen on its students making a difference, offering unique programmes that combine the core disciplines of agricultural sciences with business management and innovative technologies.

Classes include interactive discussions around current issues as well as hands-on learning in the classroom, the lab and the field, giving students practical experience and a competitive advantage as they head into careers on all scales.

Small class sizes and a cordial atmosphere provide the perfect environment for distinguished learning, networking and friendships that last beyond graduation. The Faculty of Agriculture at Dalhousie is a place of teaching excellence where friendships and agricultural skills are nurtured.

COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURE, KANSAS STATE UNIVERSITY

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Leading the way in agriculture, food, and natural resources since 1863, Kansas State University is a place to call home for agriculture students from around the globe. Students here leave prepared to become the next generation of leaders in agriculture through classroom engagement, hands-on learning and student leadership.

Awarding more than $1 million in scholarships every year, the college offers 16 undergraduate majors, 15 minors, 5 certificates, and a general agriculture program.

Supported by a dedicated faculty, the mission of the college is to develop human capital at the undergraduate and graduate levels in order to support agriculture, agriculturally-related industries, natural resources management, education and research.

“The College of Agriculture educates people for productive lives that contribute to agriculture, society and to the economic competitiveness of Kanas,” the faculty website notes.

COLLEGE OF LIFE SCIENCES AND AGRICULTURE, UNIVERSITY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

The College of Life Sciences & Agriculture (COLSA) at New Hampshire offers the chance to be educated in a wide spectrum of life science, agricultural and natural resources. The college currently offers two-year associate degrees, four-year undergraduate bachelor degrees plus a range of masters and PhD degree programs.

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Globally-known faculty at COLSA combine teaching with a passion for research and public service. The college is home to four departments and one school whilst also housing many research centres, including the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station.

COLSA’s faculty integrates experiential learning and classroom activities with research investigation in the context of a broad-based education that seeks to engage and inspire its students to be lifelong learners and contributors to society.

“Through these efforts, COLSA graduates will continue to be sought for positions requiring both a fundamental understanding of science and an ability to provide practical applications of that science,” the website explains.

*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International

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