The College of Agriculture is rolling out a new Integrated Agriculture Master this fall, the first of its kind in the state.
Enrolled students will be exposed to multiple disciplines instead of specializing in a particular field. This degree has received support from government officials, post-secondary educators and the professional industry.
Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller said with one in every seven Texans employed in agriculture, students choosing a career in this path must find a way to get ahead.
“A broad-based agriculture degree like this one, that includes economics, marketing and land use strategies might just provide that edge,” Miller said. “Texas is a national leader in agriculture and I strongly support graduating a new generation of farmers and ranchers ready to take on the future.”
This innovative degree plan has been authorized by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, and will allow students to receive a masters in science.
Madan Dey, dean of the Department of Agriculture Arts, said students will learn about production, genetics, markets, soil, among other topics.
“This program is in response to the demand for students who can more appropriately handle the complex agricultural needs of the modern industry,” Dey said. “No others give an integrated approach that gives a comprehensive dictation.”
Students have also been receptive of the degree. Students like Collin Hays who graduated from his undergraduate studies decided to stay at the university and pursue the degree.
“I really appreciate the option to spend time building a wider range of knowledge and skills set rather than narrowing my focus too much on one aspect of this industry,” Hayes said.
Hayes is looking forward to furthering his education and receiving exposure to a number of different areas of interest. He feels like it will prepare him for the ever-evolving job market.
“With integrated agricultural sciences, I can still focus a good part of my time and energy on animal science while connecting the dots with how that field is related to so many others in agriculture because the different branches of science in agriculture are highly interdependent,” Hayes said.
Dianne Countryman, the Agronomy Division Manager at Hansen Agri-Placement, a professional agricultural agency, sees countless resumes from all types of applicants. After 12 years in the agricultural job-finding industry, she has learned what her clients are looking for.
“What I’ve found is a broad-based degree is essential to have because it shows you’re invested in and passionate about your career path,” Countryman said.
Countryman said this degree offers a similar approach by exposing students to several different practices in their studies.
“These kinds of applicants are highly sought after,” Countryman said. “I can’t say enough about those students that have taken the time to do this.”