Food? Who Needs It?

Yahoo recently garnered a lot of unwanted attention.  In a list of the most useless college degrees, farming and Ag related studies took a big hit!  Some of the most useless by ranking were;  #1 Agriculture, #4 Animal Science, #5 Horticulture.  The author, Terence Loose, made a couple of understandable mistakes.

First, the author assumes those getting a degree in agriculture are searching the classifieds for farm manager jobs.   While it is true that the number of farms in the U.S. have decreased dramatically, the size of the operations have grown as well.  The simple family farm has expanded into a complex business.  Many obtaining these degrees are not looking for a job in a dwindling market.  They are assuming their parents' role on the farm, but with better information.

Second, The author uses faulty logic to make his point.  In the post, a horticulture degree is discredited because the U.S. Department of Labor projects the number of farmers and ranchers to decrease in the future.  Does this mean there will be less plants?  Should I not plan next years garden?  What kind of deductive reasoning is this?  This leap would also mean that less farmers equals less livestock.  Watch out Fuzzy Math Majors, we are tippy-toeing on your turf!

The simple truth is that a degree is designed to increase an individuals understanding of a certain subject.  While agricultural jobs may seem to be a poor choice in Yahoo's opinion, I am willing to bet even Mr. Loose had something to eat today.

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4 thoughts on “Food? Who Needs It?

  1. Horticulture is huge in business's that have offices that want fresh greenery. This is a million dollar industry. It is sad to hear people giving such false forecasts. Many biology majors in my school must take horticulture as it is so important.

  2. I completely agree! I was an ag major who has ended up in hospitality. But my hotel has a farm to table restaurant that works with local farmers and we work to educate the public about their food so my background comes in handy every day. Not to mention that I still work on my family's farm on weekends. AND, my event planning was cultivated by youth 4-H & FFA programs and further encouraged in college by working on the school farm's event committee. So I guess you could say my ag education prepared me for a job in hospitality...

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