Colleges see higher demand for degrees in agriculture

Interesting article on how enrollment in agriculture degrees is shooting up, some quotable quotes:

Enrollment is booming at many colleges of agriculture, as students flock to study subjects they feel offer a clear path to a job on graduation.

Ag-related college majors appeal to both the heart and mind of a student, university officials say, as a booming agriculture industry and practical skills taught at the colleges can help develop a career that addresses issues such as global hunger and obesity in the U.S.

“There’s a better understanding that when we use the term agriculture, it’s not all plows and cows. It’s clearly looking at the real intricacies of science and innovation,” said Ian Maw, vice president for food, agriculture and natural resources at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities in Washington, D.C.

At traditional agriculture powerhouses such as Penn State, where enrollment is up more than 40% since 2004, career preparation can include cutting-edge research in areas such as plant breeding or genomics. Schools in more urban regions draw students interested in local foods and healthy eating.

Farmland prices have tripled in the U.S. in the past decade, and corn prices have doubled since mid-2010. The high-paying jobs that follow are catching students’ attention in a down economy, Maw said.

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August 6, 2012 · 4:24 pm

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