How Important is a College Degree in Farming?

In today’s world, farming is changing rapidly. New technology is emerging. Agriculture involves huge quantities of money that is dependent on the weather, oil prices, foreign policies, stock markets, etc. — and this brings a huge amount of risk.

Farming is your business. As a business owner, would you consider hiring somebody to manage your multi-million dollar operation without a degree? If your answer is no, then remember that you yourself as a farm owner are also a CEO of your own business with everything you have on the line.

Farming has traditionally been a family business, with skills passed down from generation to generation. The problem today is that many who want to do farming don’t come from a farming background. Sometimes, the closest they've been to farming is planting a herb garden in their back yard.

Many choose to volunteer or apprentice working on different farms one growing season at a time. More and more farmers are choosing to go to school as technology advances. Studying agriculture isn’t just about planting seeds and sheering sheep. Agriculture requires students to have a good grasp of both natural science and social sciences such as biology, environmental sciences, chemistry, computers, economics and business and management.

Organic farming is becoming more and more popular. Organic farming relies on techniques such as crop rotation, green manure, compost and biological pest control. It is an ecological production management system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity. Would a farmer without schooling be able to do this all on their own? Good question.

Computer technology for farming is constantly changing. The farmer needs to commit time to learn the new techniques. The complexity of data that must be interpreted is a significant factor in being able to run farm machinery today.

Do you need a degree in today’s farming? You be the judge.

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