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Agriculture Is Useless?

January 19, 2012

More than any time in history people want their food ‘clean.’ They want tests – soil tests, food tests, seed tests, many tests on animals. Technology means more than ever one needs a good education.

So it’s with some amazement I read Terence Loose’s “Most Useless Degrees” article which included not just one but three agriculture related degrees in the top five! These are, in his opinion, #1 most useless degree as agriculture. Of it he says: “Just don’t expect farms and ranches to be calling you, says Laurence Shatkin, Ph.D., and author of “The 10 Best College Majors for Your Personality.” “It’s true that farms are becoming more efficient now and so there is less of a need for farm managers,” he says. That means less jobs.”  Apparently Mr. Loose doesn’t understand many farmers work for himself. With more than ever a call for more farms and more food choices, he sees the only solution to work as working for someone else.

His #4 most useless degree was animal science. So those people looking for ways to do more with less in agriculture, who find ways to raise animals efficiently *and* with animal welfare concerns, who find solutions to animal illnesses…that is useless work? I think not!

Following in his list at #5 most useless degree is horticulture.

Clearly Mr. Loose isn’t too concerned with food, be it animals or plants. If your animal gets sick, hope the answer isn’t depending on treatment from those who think it’s a “useless” degree! How about the diversity of agriculture…from people who seldom step onto a farm but hold agriculture degrees? Who do we depend on to determine what is safe and what isn’t? Agriculture science is important. Agriculture degrees allow us to be able to tend to a wide range of issues and tactics.

Recently there was a blackout of some online sites to protest censorship. What if there was an agriculture blackout? From landscaper professionals (with those horticulture degrees!) to animal scientists to farm managers…if everyone took a black out week to be unavailable, along with all their products. Do you even know how deep that reaches?

Perhaps Mr. Terence Loose, and those who believe the same, should consider and stop buying those useless products that are made possible by agriculture, animal science and horticulture jobs.

It’s true not all need a degree to work in agriculture, but it sure helps. If all you want to do is punch in, put in your time, go home then agriculture probably isn’t a career for you.

I get to work with incredible animals, people and see sunsets that are more beautiful than any painting. Agriculture needs more people involve, not less. When American consumers and those around the world stop eating then those jobs are useless. Until then they’re not only not useless…they’re critical.

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