Why Agriculture: An Open Letter from a High School Senior

kelli blog 2 photoHere I am, a high school senior, taking part in my final days of this stage in my life. Right now, as we approach graduation, filling out scholarships is a big task. The question “What’s your intended major?” arises quite often followed by “Why have you chosen the major stated above?” I always answer with, “Agricultural Communications” and then proceed with my reason why: “I grew up in this industry…I want to make a difference within agriculture…my passion lies here.” Although each of these statements is correct, my reasoning for why I am choosing a major in agriculture goes much deeper. It wasn’t until filling out a scholarship application today that I realized that. So, here’s a letter to agriculturalists in my community, state, and nation explaining why I choose agriculture. Here’s a deeper reason for why I’m choosing this major.

kelli blog 2 photo 2Dear dedicated agriculturalists,

It’s because of you. You are the reason I write “Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Communication” on every scholarship application. You are the reason I toured the college of agriculture on East Campus at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. You are the reason I met with academic advisors in agriculture areas. You are the reason I choose agriculture. Why? It’s simple. YOU give me hope. You’ve helped me see the importance of each and every agriculturalist. From farmers to bankers to chemists to advocates- they’re all important. It’s because of you and your dedication and drive that I am choosing agriculture. Yes, I’m selecting this major for other reasons as well. For the uninformed, those disconnected from agriculture, and the curious. But in the end, I’m venturing with this major because of you. I see the smile you get when you finish your last field of corn. I see the difference you’re making in informing others through social media, radio, and magazines. I see your passion ignite when you get to visit with agriculturalists as well as non-agriculturists. I see the fear in your eyes of being able to feed the world by 2050. But I also see hope. I see so much hope. So, with that being said, thank you. Thank you for showing me that a major and a career in agriculture will be a choice I will never regret. Thank you for investing in me. Thank you for investing in others. YOU make a difference in the lives of countless people without even knowing it. So, thank you.

Sincerely,

A high school senior that got her passion for agriculture by watching all of you

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What opportunities are available with a degree in agriculture?

A reader asks,

“I know some people who are going to college to study agriculture. Are they just going to be a farmer when they graduate?”

There are so many opportunities available within agriculture today. Students who are going to college to study an agricultural degree can do just about anything when they graduate whether it’s going back to the farm or ranch, becoming an agricultural educator or working for an agri-business.

Agriculture is a growing industry. The population right now is nearing 7 billion people. By 2040, experts say it will reach 9 billion people. That’s 9 billion mouths farmers and ranchers will need to feed with the same, or less, amount of resources we use today. Currently, the average age of the American farmer is 55 so it is safe to say that our country will be needing more farmers and ranchers in the near future, but it will also need more agronomists, food scientists, teachers and biochemists!

There are several schools in Nebraska, alone, that offer various degree programs related to the agriculture and food industries. These degree programs include (but are definitely not limited to!) agronomy, animal sciences, mechanized systems management and agricultural engineering, agri-business and economics, turf grass management, equine sciences and food science. In 2010, USDA estimated that the number of job openings each year that require a college degree in agriculture, food systems, renewable energy and environment will increase by 5 percent between 2010 and 2015.

So if you’re considering going to college or going back to college or even just know someone who is going to be going to college, suggest studying an agricultural degree! We can sure use you!Image