What is the Best Degree For Someone Interested in Farming?

FarmingAs people become more educated about the dangers of consuming processed and packaged foods, many young people who want to grow their own real food investigate the best degree for someone interested in farming. Farming is an ancient occupation that is rife with risk, but that offers some significant monetary and health affirming rewards. Farming includes the cultivation of crops, care of livestock and the sale of farm products. While most farming techniques and business related practices are taught through on the job training and real world internships, formal training programs help to give aspiring farmers broader perspectives on the discipline than they might have gained from one or two farm internship experiences. Here is one of the most popular degree programs for those interested in farming, a beneficial farm certification and examples of educational programs in specialty farming categories.

Agricultural Economics

Students interested in farming can enroll in an agricultural economics degree program at the associate or bachelor degree level. Some of the topics included within these programs are crop production, distribution of goods and consumer demand for crops. The courses allow students to hone their farming skills through classroom theory and hands on, experiential learning activities. Graduates also have the knowledge to contribute to legislative policy making via participation in farm professional organizations. These degree programs help to prepare students to become competent farm managers who understand the impacts that farming has on the surrounding environment, the burgeoning role of technology in crop cultivation and land management. Most programs also feature supervised field studies where students can put the theories that they learned in the classroom into practice on real farms.

Beneficial Certifications

Farmers who have been practicing their profession for a number of years and who already have academic credentials associated with farming may opt to become certified farm managers. This designation sponsored by the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers (ASFMRA) is an important calling card for farm managers seeking work on medium to large farms. In addition to work experience and academic credentials, a farmer who wants to become an accredited farm manager must take coursework as specified by the ASFMRA, complete a farm plan and successfully pass a comprehensive exam. Those farm managers who hold the ASFMRA designation have verifiable expertise in areas like farm budgets, soil conservation, irrigation technology and selection of seed and fertilizers.

Degrees and Training Programs for Niche Farming Categories

Some aspiring farmers know right away that they want to specialize in certain types of farming. For example, there are farms that are dedicated to raising dairy cows or goats, and future dairy farmers have the option to enroll in dairy science degree programs that help them to develop the skills to maximize milk production while providing proper animal care. Other aspiring farmers are concerned about the quality and safety of crops produced conventionally, and they want to own or manage organic farms. While university degree programs within this niche may still be limited, some small to medium sized certified organic farms help to fill the void by providing training programs to interested farm interns. Some of these programs last up to nine months and cover topics like farm production, basic equipment maintenance and farming business skills.

Related Resource: Environmental Policy Jobs

Conclusion

Studying about how to produce real food for one’s self, family and community is a noble endeavor in today’s modern world that is filled with nutrition poor fast food. Finding the best degree for someone interested in farming has gotten a lot easier as the demand for the discipline reignites worldwide.