Good job outlook attracts students to ag schools

Nov 17, 2009

The Associated Press this morning reported that enrollment in agriculture schools across the nation is growing, even though the number of farms tumbles.

Reporter David Mercer provided statistics from a survey of ag schools by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Enrollment in bachelor's degree programs in agriculture, the survey said, increased 21.8 percent from 2005 to 2008, from about 58,300 students to nearly 71,000.

The story gave specific information about the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, noting that in 2009 more than 5,490 students are enrolled in agricultural majors — a jump of 210 from a year earlier.

"I think that young people are recognizing all of the issues that surround our society that have to do with food, and I think there's a real interest in new ways of doing things and solving some of these problems," the story quoted Diane Ullman, a UC Davis associate dean for undergraduate academic programs.

A Monsanto spokesman told the reporter the company finds it hard to recruit people educated in science, in particular, because they "tend to get snatched up by medical and health care-related things." He said Monsanto has openings for 100 researchers at its headquarters in St. Louis.

A Texas A & M spokesman said every one of the university's poultry science graduates averaged five job offers.

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By Jeannette E. Warnert
Author - Communications Specialist