If you've ever taken a road trip across almost any portion of the United States, it's impossible not to notice the vast expanses of farmland that populate the countryside. One of the advantages the US has is our sheer landmass, and much of that land is very fit for agriculture. According to the American Farm Bureau Federation (www.fb.org), there are 22 million farms in the US. Most of these farms are not corporations, but family owned and operated organizations. This does not mean, however, that the ″family farm″ is an old-fashioned operation where a person runs the farm exactly his or her grandparents and great-grandparents did.
There are always a great many challenges that face the agricultural industry. Drought, climate change, weather patterns, soil quality, and new technology have changed farming drastically over the years. As populations increase, so does the demand for food and other agricultural products. Scientific study, new developments in technology and smart engineering have allowed farmers to drastically increase their yield on produce, while at the same time new practices have reduced energy consumption and have conserved the quality of the soil so that continued high-yield is possible. Agriculture is not just about production, but about preserving our land and soil so that it continues to produce for generations to come.
Agriculture, due to its very nature, is a science that must be constantly adapting, changing, and growing. A degree in agriculture can help those who wish to enter the industry as well as those who are already working in agriculture in some capacity. Completely online degrees exist all the way up to the graduate level, and provide programs with many different focuses. Many will want to work directly with agriculture and may take a degree focus on food science, general agriculture, farming, conservation, or horticulture.
There are also degrees that focus on the business side of agriculture. These types of degrees are helpful for people who work in the banking industry that provide loans to agricultural businesses, or who manage distribution and sales of agricultural products. Government agencies that and inspection bureaus, such as the Department of Agriculture, that work directly in the business ensuring proper practices and quality, also often require agriculture degrees for their positions.
Online programs provide the ability to study and earn your degree from anywhere in the world. The classes are all online, but there may be some field work or internships necessary, ones that you can complete locally. These programs provide a great way to get the education you need to kick start your career, or to advance your knowledge if you are already working in agriculture. If you get a degree in agriculture, you'll be investing your time and money in an industry that will always be in demand. There will never be a time where agricultural products do not form the basis of a world economy. With the population growing, the demand for food and other agricultural products will increase – as will the need to develop new and innovative ways of cultivation and farming.