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Response to Underestimating Agricultural Degrees
January 30, 2012 found this to be an enlightening response to the misleading information recently written about education and career opportunities in agriculture-related programs. 
The President of each Science Society (American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America and Soil Science Society of America), along with its C.E.O., shared the following “Letter to the Editor” to inform the public about the critical need for graduates with agriculture-related degrees. 
January 25, 2012
Dear Editor,
It’s happened again.
Tests by a company of its brand-name orange juice turned up low levels of fungicide. But even as the report went on to indicate the amount was below federal safety concerns and didn’t pose a health risk—alarm bells sounded around the world.

Issues related to the safety and security of our food supply tops the news on a regular basis. However, a recent article about the future of the business as posted on Yahoo-Education is the type of report doing more harm to agriculture than good.

Separate statistical data from the United States Department of Labor and United States Department of Agriculture indicates an expected growth in most agriculture-related fields including inspectors, scientists and veterinarians. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects over the next five years, there will be a 5% increase in the need for graduates in these disciplines, but a 10% decline in the number of students choosing these important programs as their career path. This means a shortfall of qualified workers in the areas where we need them most—plants, food, animals and climate change or environmental analysts. But, there are also growing opportunities in industries linked to the business of agriculture; from trucking to coffee and beer brewing, dietetic concerns to animal welfare and pet foods.

As Yahoo's article stated, students majoring in agriculture-related disciplines are wasting their time and money.  Yet, contrary to this, the Bureau of Labor Statistics also suggests an 8% increase in the need for qualified, well-educated Ag Managers; citing quickly advancing technological methods of farming across the U.S. and abroad, along with changes in regulations at all Government levels.

The bottom line— agriculture isn’t dead. In fact, no other industry feeds the world’s population which, according to research, will hit 9 billion by 2050 (Feedstuffs, October 26, 2009). Instead, the need for graduates in agriculture, horticulture and animal science programs will be critical to finding ways of safely doubling food production in order to meet the demand of a growing population. The many facets offer a chance to make a difference. By helping agriculture thrive—we keep the rest of humanity alive.
Jeffrey Volenec
President, Crop Science Society of America
Kenneth Barbarick
President, American Society of Agronomy
Gary Pierzynski
President, Soil Science Society of America
Ellen Bergfeld, C.E.O.
Alliance of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Science Societies
ACSESS-International Alliance of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Science Societies

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