More American college students want to work in agriculture

Posted on January 10, 2013


As students around the nation (including me) start heading back to college this week and next, an increasing number will be opening the books on agriculture. That’s because enrollment in ag-related programs is up around the nation by about 21 percent.

Those numbers are even higher at the College of Agriculture Sciences and Natural Resources (CASNR), where enrollment from 2006 to 2011 has grown by 32.8 percent. School officials say that trend continued last fall as well.

This trend has been in place for awhile. Back in 2009, UC Davis–a top California ag school–reported growth due to growing job prospects in the field. In 2012, enrollment in the Darr School of Agriculture at Missouri State had jumped by 20 percent in just one year.

Industry experts credit a growing population with more job openings in the business of food production. John Stier, UT professor and assistant dean at CASNR, said many of his students graduate with loads of job opportunities and even signing bonuses. The starting salary for a CASNR graduate, he said, can reach $50,000 or more.