What Should Students Be Taught in College-Level Agriculture Courses?

One question that tends to arise, whenever professors of agriculture meet, is as to what should be taught in college-level agriculture courses. There are those who are of the view that college-level agriculture courses need to be highly specialized. Then there are those who believe that college-level agriculture courses need to be mostly of a general nature, with the students only being allowed to specialize at the very end of the courses. In fact, there are those who are of the view that students should only be allowed to specialize at the postgraduate level: the inference being that undergraduate courses in agriculture should be wholly of a generalist nature.

Whatever school of thought you belong to, you will agree that all college-level agriculture courses should (at the very least) include units in:

  1. Basic botany and zoology: it would be a travesty for someone to go through a college-level agriculture course, and emerge without some basic grounding in botany and zoology. In this context, botany is simply plant science, whilst zoology is simply animal science. A firm foundation in these basic sciences prepares one to be an excellent agriculturalist.
  2. Agronomy: having mastered basic plant science (botany), students of agriculture should be taken to the next level – where that basic science is applied in crop care. That application is known as agronomy, and it is unthinkable that one would get a degree in agriculture without taking several units in agronomy.
  3. Animal production: having mastered basic animal science (zoology), students of agriculture should be taken to the next level, where that zoology is applied in farm animal care. Even if a student is not interested in animal production, they should nonetheless be exposed to several units in it before being awarded agriculture degrees.
  4. The business side of agriculture: few people will argue with the proposition that students undertaking college-level agriculture courses should be taught something about the business side of agriculture. So we are talking of units in agribusiness and in agricultural economics. After all, there is a possibility that the agriculture graduate may end up being employed as an agricultural administrator upon graduation. Thus, notwithstanding his basic agriculture training, he may find himself having, say, to visit the Securitas Epay portal – that is, after going through the paperlesspay talx login screen, to enter farm employee payroll details into the system. Obviously, if he didn’t undertake any courses in the business side of agriculture, he would end up struggling a great deal with such tasks.

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