Major Changes: Current Ag Students on the Boom in Ag Education

“The cure to most of our problems in agriculture could be sitting right in front of us,” says Jay Middleton. It’s a heavy thought, and one of the many reasons the agronomy senior at Murray State University (MSU) believes it’s...

Major Changes: Current Ag Students on the Boom in Ag Education

“The cure to most of our problems in agriculture could be sitting right in front of us,” says Jay Middleton. It’s a heavy thought, and one of the many reasons the agronomy senior at Murray State University (MSU) believes it’s...

“The cure to most of our problems in agriculture could be sitting right in front of us,” says Jay Middleton. It’s a heavy thought, and one of the many reasons the agronomy senior at Murray State University (MSU) believes it’s important to point people toward an ag education.

Matt Papineau, Memry Stoll, Jay Middleton, Samantha Anderson, Luke King, Jeremiah Johnson.

Matt Papineau, Memry Stoll, Jay Middleton, Samantha Anderson, Luke King, Jeremiah Johnson.

Apparently, plenty of young people have followed that direction. MSU’s Hutson School of Agriculture, like so many North American ag schools, appears ready to burst at the seams. In a reversal from just a decade ago, agriculture is “in” and its future bright. Enrollment in colleges of agriculture in both the U.S. and Canada has experienced healthy upswings. Individual institutions, including MSU, are reporting record numbers.

Most of it boils down to “jobs, jobs, jobs,” says MSU Hutson School of Agriculture dean Dr. Tony Brannon. “There are lots of expanded job opportunities in fields relatively new to agriculture, such as biotechnology, veterinary technology and precision agriculture.” Coupled with a retiring workforce and an expanding market that includes positions for non-rural youth, Brannon believes this created “the perfect storm leading to increased enrollment in many sectors of agriculture.”

Because they offer a glimpse at agriculture’s future, we sat down with Middleton and a group of his ag school classmates to better understand what motivates, concerns and appeals to them about their chosen academic discipline and the profession for which they’re preparing.

Technology, a yearning to learn more, leadership, a desire to feed the world and much more is discussed in this FarmLife special report. What these young people have to say tells us the future is in good hands and that cure Middleton mentions could be just around the corner.

There is much more from current ag students as part of the special report from FarmLife, the Massey Ferguson customer magazine. Read more from them here, and browse the full package including video and infographics.

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