Friday, January 20, 2012

Useless Degree #1: Agriculture... I think not!

For the past few days, an article about the most useless college majors has been the talk of the town... at least for the Ag Department here on campus. If you haven't seen this article, go to the link below to see what everyone is talking about:

The number one useless degree according to this article: agriculture. Coming in at numbers 4 and 5 are animal science and horticulture. Naturally, all of the agriculture students are outraged. After all, they are spending a pretty penny to get their college degree... and now this writer has the nerve to call it useless! According to Terence Loose, the author of this article, agriculture is a useless degree because farms today are becoming more efficient, so farms and ranches simply aren't hiring any more labor. Well, apparently Mr. Loose neglected to do his research. Agriculture majors are NOT limited to being hired as labor on a farm or ranch! As a matter of fact, I would say most agriculture majors are not looking to be hired by a farm. Agriculture majors move on to have careers at commodity organizations, banks, loan agencies, farm bureaus, grain elevators, fertilizer & seed companies... the list goes on! It is simply naive for the author of this article to make such a claim about majoring in agriculture for the reason of farms becoming more efficient.

One statement that I found particularly troubling in the article was as follows: "Still, if your idea of a good day is getting up with the sun and working till it sets as an agricultural manager, a degree in agriculture might be your calling." Is that supposed to be read as a bad thing? I think if nothing else, this statement proves the common work ethic that "farm kids" are often known for and hired for. Even if a job opening is not directly related to agriculture, employers like to hear that an applicant comes from a farm background. Plain and simple, farm kids do work from sun up to sun down and because of that they gain a work ethic that other kids often lack. If the author's intention was for that statement to be a slam of sorts on the agriculture industry, maybe he should have given a little bit more thought to what exactly he was saying. Talk about weakening your argument.

At the end of the day, it is difficult for ANY college graduate to find a job in the current job market. Agriculture, however, does have some guarantees that other industries lack. Everyone needs to eat, and what industry produces our nations food? Agriculture. What industry employs ever 21 million americans? Agriculture. What industry exported $108 billion dollars worth of goods in 2010, having a great impact on the US economy? Agriculture.

In the words of President Thomas Jefferson: "Agriculture... is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals, and happiness." I couldn't have said it better myself.


  1. Well said Rosie!!! Mr. Loose apparently didn't do his homework before making such a bold statement.

  2. Everything has just become about money these days. One question I would have to ask while surveying NIU alumni is to rate how well the college prepared them for the future without focusing so much on a financial advantages. I cant remember many people rating it very high. Thats just an example of how someone, such as Mr. Loose, is thinking with a closed mind and making it only about the financial benefits rather than the longterm advantages and effects on other people.

  3. I'm proud to be farm raised and corn fed! Farm kids have work ethic that does not have to be taught. And notice the current stock markets. Agriculture is the only structurally sound market today that is profitable. Hard work, a solid market and feeding the world year after year proves that Agriculture is hardly the most usless degree today.

  4. Do you not agree that a man educated in Film and Television at UCLA is credible to write such an article? It is unbelievable, and comical of sorts, to see someone in a position such as his, influencing the public in such an opinionated and negative way. When in a position of ascendancy, one should utilize his abilities and resources to educate and inspire. Learning is a process which should continue throughout the life of an individual. Learning does not end with the graduation from an educational establishment; rather, it is a vast perspective of knowledge.

  5. without agriculture the author of that article would be hungry and naked literally. what a scene in the 21st century.