Animal scientists have a major contention with Yahoo!

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Last week Yahoo! came out with an article, "College Majors That Are Useless",  which listed three agricultural-based majors in its top five list.

Little surprise, it ruffled many feathers within the agriculture community. (See Commentary: Useless Indeed.) In fact, by mid-day on Thursday, a Facebook page – “I studied agriculture and I have a job” – was up and running.

AgCareers.com, an agriculture job placement service, released a response with data of its own, illustrating the varied and numerous opportunities ag majors and careers provide.  

Also, the American Society of Animal Science (ASAS) has stepped forward, pointing out that students in animal science programs learn skills that are vital in food production and animal and human health. Enrollment in animal science majors is increasing, and job opportunities for animal science majors continue to expand, ASAS points out.

“I couldn’t disagree more with the recent comments in the media questioning the value of animal science degrees. Nearly all animal science departments across the country are experiencing not only growth but expanding placement rates of our graduates. Even during record global economic challenges, animal science majors have been in great demand,” says Margaret Benson, head of the animal science department at Washington State University and ASAS president.

As she points out, animal science is the study of farm animals, companion animals and exotic species. Animal scientists work to improve animal health and food production, and many of them focus on food safety and improving sustainability. Discoveries in animal science also increase understanding of human health, genetics and medicine, Benson adds.

According to Greg Lardy, head of the animal science department at North Dakota State University, “Interest in animal science careers and enrollment in our undergraduate majors continues to expand. In fact, our enrollment is up 28 percent this year.”

Meghan Wulster-Radcliffe, ASAS’ chief executive officer, notes that about 90 percent of university animal science departments have seen increased enrollment in recent years. ASAS has also seen record membership, including more than 5,000 academic and industry professionals. International and student membership in ASAS also has grown.  

Animal science has stayed strong during the recession. Data from the 2009 to 2012 American Community Survey show the unemployment rate for recent graduates with agriculture-related degrees was 7 percent below the national average of 8.9 percent.

Graduates with animal science degrees who responded to a recent Purdue University survey said they used their majors to find careers in animal production, at zoos and the pharmaceutical industry. A degree in animal science also opens doors for additional graduate and professional training in areas such as veterinary medicine, research and education.

“The fundamental goal of animal science is to facilitate the use of animals to meet human needs, whether we are discussing feeding the world or companionship,” Wulster-Radcliffe says.

 

 



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sdcpa    
SD  |  January, 23, 2012 at 09:16 AM

So how many people did Yahoo feed last year? Who are they to determine ag education is useless. Maybe we should all quit and let them feed themselves. We can rent by the acre to the highest bidder and let them figure out how to feed themselves.

Traniece    
Fresno, CA  |  January, 24, 2012 at 05:10 AM

You know that really doesn't sound like a bad idea.

Traniece    
Fresno, CA  |  January, 24, 2012 at 05:20 AM

Thank you for standing up for those of us who have animal science degrees. Obviously those jokers at Yahoo! don't know what the heck they're talking about.

Bill Harshman    
Central PA  |  January, 24, 2012 at 11:23 AM

The farther we get from our ag roots, the more idiotic these proclamations will be. I'll bet no one in the Yahoo tribe can even find a farmer in their family tree.

Christine Bongiorno    
Stroudsburg,PA  |  February, 11, 2012 at 10:22 AM

As the proud EARNER of a BS in Animal Science, I beg to differ here. As the article quotes: "Graduates with animal science degrees who responded to a recent Purdue University survey said they used their majors to find careers in animal production, at zoos and the pharmaceutical industry. A degree in animal science also opens doors for additional graduate and professional training in areas such as veterinary medicine, research and education". I'm thrilled it came from the place I received my SECOND and professional degree THANKS to my Ani Sci degree - Purdue Univ. I am a practicing veterinarian and my love of large animals came from the experience I gained at the Univ of Delaware earning my Animal Sci degree. I didn't grow up on a farm and sadly, we are more and more removed from the source of our food, clothing and other supplies we all use day to day. I didn't know I loved working with poultry, cattle, sheep, etc until that experience. I am glad UD can provide that for so many. I know other universities that do the same. There are so many paths you can take with this degree. It is extremely strong in science but gives you the extra edge of having education related to animals - above with a regular biology degree would give you. I could've done research, worked for the government, gone on to a PhD, an MPH, or an MD (if I didn't make it into vet school), worked in a zoo, worked for all sorts of companies from pharmaceuticals to feed companies and everything in between.


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