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Should Students Still Study Agriculture in College?

Dr. David Kohl
Educational Opportunities: 
Young, Beginning Farmers
Home > Education & Events > June 2018 > Should Students Still Study Agriculture in College?

Hi I'm Dr. Dave Kohl, Professor Emeritus and academic hall of famer in the Agriculture Economics Department down at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia.

The other day I had a participant in one of my seminars ask, "Should my son, daughter or grandchild, study the agricultural field?" Of course my answer was an unequivocal yes. One of the things about studying agriculture, is that the skill base can be transferred to many facets of business and industry, and life in general. However, if they do study agriculture, I think it's extremely important that they are grounded in biology, business, economics, and communications. One of the things that we're really finding, is that the successful student will have to be able to study data. Data is going be very important; being able to critically think about that data, and then being able to communicate that data, not only to business and industry, but also to an individual producer will be extremely critical for the future.

One of the things I also think is very critical is that anyone studying agriculture should get at least two internships. One usually outside the region or outside the area, but then one outside the United States of America. The other day in Syracuse, New York, I had a young man who is studying at Cornell, who had just came back from a three week tour of China. He was able to give the audience four or five perspectives that he gained when he was in China. As a matter of fact, he indicated, their ability to take technology and their natural resource limitation that really bodes well for American agriculture. So you can kind of see what those internships do.

One final note, not all and everybody is cut out for college. There's nothing wrong with vocational and technical school to get that skill base to position for success. Not only in business, but life in general.
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