This article gives a list and emphasis on the top agricultural courses worth studying in 2021.
Prior to this time, Agricultural courses were neglected by many students who considered the courses to be less prestigious with no hope of high earnings. As a result of this, those who picked such courses became laughing stocks among their peers. Some were nicknamed “farmers”.
This misconception was due to the belief that everyone who studied Agricultural courses would end up on the farm. For many, at the mention of Agriculture, the only thing that comes to mind is hoe and Cutlass, farming. What these people failed to realise was that all humans are farmers by default.
In recent time, these misconceptions are gradually fading off as the Agricultural sector is almost taking over the oil sector. Today, many Agricultural courses have become hot cakes in many Institutions. As a graduate of Agricultural Economics and Extension, I can categorically say that, in no time, many Agricultural courses will become as lucrative as some of the population courses such as Medicine, Law, etc.
One of the major faculties in the university is the Faculty of Agriculture. There are over 120 courses within this faculty of which many of them are less important in this present generation. However, gone are the days people see the Agricultural faculty as a dumping ground for students who could not get their desired courses. These days, students apply for these courses on their own volition.
Agriculture is life, it is everywhere and studying a course under Agriculture will put you at the forefront of employability and entrepreneurship.
This means that if you don’t get employed, you will automatically become an employer of labour.
Inorder to help those who desires to study Agricultural courses but do not know exactly which course to go for, this article has got you covered as it will be throwing light on Agricultural courses worth studying. This doesn’t imply that other courses are not worth it.
LIST OF TOP AGRICULTURAL COURSES YOU NEED TO STUDY
Therefore, below is the list of Top Agricultural courses worth studying in schools.
- Agricultural Economics and Farm Management
- Agricultural Extension and Rural Sociology
- Nutrition and Dietetics
- Forestry and Wood Technology
- Plant pathology
- Food Science and Business
- Fisheries and Aquaculture Technology
- Family, Nutrition and Consumer Science
- Environmental Management and Toxicology
- Animal Production and Health Services
- Livestock Production Technology
- Animal Nutrition and Biotechnology
- Crop, Soil and Pest Management
- Production and Landscape Management
1. AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS
Not too many people know about this course and each time I mention the course being my course of study, I always get a very weird look from people, someone once said” so you spent a whole five years in school just to learn how to become a farmer.
WHAT IS AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS?
Agricultural economics is a branch of applied economics that takes the tools of both micro and macroeconomics and uses them to solve problems in a specific area. Agricultural economists examine data to determine patterns and trends in economic activity. They also conduct research to collect data and market samples. They use the predictions obtained from their research to inform, influence, and improve the business decisions of clients and agricultural organizations.
Agricultural economics majors find themselves working in banks, credit unions, insurance companies, legal firms, and private companies. Some get jobs with the government. Others go into agribusiness and work as business managers or consultants. Some go into sales, working for food retailers and wholesalers. Some become experts in customer relations. Some go into research. Some even go into advertising and marketing.
Many agricultural economics graduates work in the textiles industry.My desire has always been to work in an Agricultural parastatal or ministries. This type of degree can lead to hundreds of opportunities.
Also, Agricultural economics majors can become experts in rural development. They think globally, and know that food is now an international business. From air pollution to pest control to biofuels,people who earn degrees in agricultural economics become people who solve problems. And problem-solvers are in high demand. Our slogan back in school was “the policy makers”. Agricultural Economists are analysers and great thinkers.
TWO THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS
It is a professional course. The nature of the course permits you to take professional examinations if you intend to advance in your career. Example is the popular ICAN.
It is a five(5) year course. So stop seeing Agricultural Economics as people who went to school to study farm practices. It’s way beyond that.
CAREERS IN AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS
Below are some of the things you can do with an Agricultural Economics degree:
- Agribusiness Consultant
- Agribusiness Specialist
- Agricultural Appraiser
- Agricultural Loan Officer
- Agricultural Marketing Specialist
- Agriculture Development Officer
- Economic Analyst
- Economic Development Coordinator
- Financial Analyst
- Public Policy Analyst
- Environmental Economist
- Supply Chain Manager
2. AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION
This is another too agricultural course. Over the years the role of Agricultural Extension personnel cannot be emphasized in the Agricultural field.
Agricultural Extension is a course in Agriculture that deals with the spread of information about new Agricultural technologies to Farmers, basically rural farmers. The role of extension services is invaluable in teaching farmers how to improve their productivity and income.
There are many employers that hire agricultural extension agents, but basically, they are usually affiliated with government agencies at the federal, state, or local levels. Agricultural extension agents may also find employment with land-grant universities, research organizations, and community education groups. Some agents also teach courses through universities and colleges.
It is a very interesting course that gives you an opportunity to travel and socialize with people of different cultures.
3. FOOD SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
FST is also one of the top Agricultural courses worth studying. Food science is the study of the physical, chemical and biological makeup of food, the causes of food deterioration and the concepts involved in food processing. Food scientists and technologists apply scientific disciplines including chemistry, engineering, microbiology, and nutrition to the study of food to improve the safety, nutrition, wholesomeness and availability of food.
Depending on their area of specialization, food scientists develop ways to process, preserve, package or store food according to industry and government regulations.
The Food Science and Technology programme is designed to provide training on:
- The conversion of raw agricultural produce into processed, packaged, shelf stable food products and intermediate industrial raw materials.
- Establishment, maintenance and assurance of food quality.
- Design and maintenance of food process machineries.
- Testing the quality and safety of food
- Invention of new ‘recipes’ for foods using new ingredients
- Direct practical experience in food industries, food research laboratories/station and governmental agencies responsible for the formulation and enforcement of food laws.
- Entrepreneurial skills that will make students self-employed on graduation.
When you are studying food science and technology, you’ll learn all about food from all different aspects of the industry including:
- Science; chemistry, biology, physics
- Food microbiology, food chemistry
- Food toxicology
- Food preservation
- Food safety
- Sustainable food manufacturing
- Product design and development
The programme lasts for 4 – 5 years depending on method of entry.
A bonafide graduate of Food Science and Technology can embark on a teaching career in the University, Polytechnic or College of Technology.
Also, graduates are adequately trained to be employed at the senior level in food industries, regulatory agencies, extension organizations and research institutes. Most importantly, food science and technology graduates are trained to be capable of establishing their own small and medium scale food enterprises.
In some schools, food science and technology is not considered an Agricultural course but an Engineering course.
4. PLANT PATHOLOGY
Plant Pathology is defined as the study of the organisms and environmental conditions that cause disease in plants, the mechanisms by which this occurs, the interactions between these causal agents and the methods of managing or controlling plant disease.
To study this course, you must have a strong interest in biological science studies and research.
As a plant pathologist, there are many job opportunities. You can however work in both private and government Organizations:
- Researcher in a Government Institution
- Agrochemical companies:
- Run registration trials and promote the products to farmers.
- Seed companies
- Test cultivars for disease resistance, breed seeds for better resistance.
- Fertilizer companies
- University Academics: These work at most of the major plant pathology departments either as lecturers or Researchers.
- Many go into the production field, either with their own interests or as a manager. Their broad training and understanding of the constraints of disease on production are excellent equipment for this role.
- Private company: Some have Plant Pathologists start their own companies manufacturing biological control agents.
- Private Consultant: This is a demanding job, as it is a challenging field to consult in.
5. ANIMAL SCIENCE
This course which can also be referred to as animal husbandry involves the study of the biology of animals that are under the control of man. It can also be described as the production and management of farm animals.
If you desire a career that will enable you work with animals, a degree in animal science and management can provide a route into a range of jobs involving pets, working animals, livestock and wildlife.
- Academic researcher
- Animal nutritionist
- Animal technician
- Animal physiotherapist
- Nature conservation officer
- Employers include animal charities, who are involved in animal welfare, training, rescue, conservation, rehoming, etc.
- You can also get employed by Scientific organisations like pharmaceutical companies or medical research companies to care for animals in laboratories.
- The area of Animal nutrition is also fast growing with opportunities in animal health, feed development and sales
- Many animal science and management degrees also equip you with a range of practical skills around animal handling, husbandry and training, as well as scientific research skills such as behavioural measurement.
Generally, many animal science and management graduates find employment in animal care services
6. NUTRITION AND DIETETICS
Dietetics involves the study of nutrition and how it impacts health and disease. Dietitians are nutrition experts who are concerned about the health and well-being of the populace.
Dietitian career opportunities range from small communities to large cities in food industry companies, health agencies, hospitals, long-term care facilities, pharmaceutical companies, public health programs, schools, the armed forces, and wellness centers.
7. FISHERIES AND AQUACULTURE
This area of study focuses on the raising of fish and other seafood.
In other words, it is the science of producing fish and other aquatic resources for the purpose of providing human food, ornaments and for recreation as the case may be.
One major benefit to taking a course in aquaculture and fisheries is that the demand for fish is increasing on a daily basis. Fisheries must be able to meet this demand, which can mean an expansion of facilities and staff. For this reason, students who take this course and who are interested in seeking careers within fisheries have a good chance of being able to do so.
In many cases, those who study this course are usually self employed. This aspect of Agriculture is currently one of the most lucrative.
8. SOIL SCIENCE
Soil science is a scientific discipline that deals with the study of soil as a natural resource for plant growth. It is a scientific discipline that is comprehensive in nature. This is because of its relationships with so many other sciences.
Its study includes soil formation, classification, and mapping; physical, chemical, biological, and fertility properties of soils; and these properties in relation to the use and management of the soils.
Like all other courses, Soil science has many branches.
- Soil Chemistry: It deals with the chemical constitution, chemical properties and processes taking place in the soil.
- Soil Biology: It refers to the soil inhabiting organisms and their biology, functions and activities. Example include Nematodes.
- Soil Mineralogy: This branch deals with the primary and secondary soil minerals and their contribution to the chemistry, physics, fertility and biology of the soils and their relation to soil genesis.
- Soil Survey: This aspect involves the examination of the soils in the field and lab, their description, classification, and interpretation according to their suitability for different management systems
- Soil Classification (Pedology): Soil genesis deals with the weathering of rocks and minerals and factors and processes of soil formation whereas, soil classification is the systematic rearrangements of soils into groups or categories on the basis of their characteristics.
- Soil Conservation: It deals with the protection of soil from the physical loss by erosion or chemical deterioration. Therefore, soil conservation is concerned with a combination of all management and land use methods that protect the soil against deterioration by natural or human factors.
Soil scientists work for government bodies, universities, and the private sector.
The job of a soil scientist includes collection of soil data, consultation, investigation, evaluation, interpretation, planning or inspection relating to soil science. This field includes different duties such as;
- conducting general and detailed soil surveys,
- recommending soil management programs,
- helping to design hydrologic plans in suburban areas,
- monitoring the effects of farm, ranch, or forest activities on soil productivity,
- evaluating nutrient and water availability to crops
- giving technical advice used to help plan land management programs,
- preparing reports describing land and soil characteristics,
- advising land managers of capabilities and limitations of soils
- training personnels,
- evaluating nutrient and water availability to crops,
- managing soils for crop production, forest products and erosion control management,
- managing soils for landscape design, mine reclamation, and site restoration.
OTHER AGRICULTURAL COURSES
- Agric Extension and Rural Development
- Cooperative Management
- Agricultural Administration
- Agricultural Business
- Crop Science and Biotechnology
- Home and Hotel Management
- Plant Science and Biotechnology.
Agricultural science is a versatile field involving plants, animals and the earth surface in general. The fascinating thing about agricultural courses is that the major courses have sub courses. For instance, Animal science as an Agricultural course has other courses under it such as animal nutrition, animal physiology, etc.
As a result of this, the list of agricultural courses is so much that it can be exhausted in an article.
Regardless of the choice of course, be rest assured that you can never go wrong because man depends on agriculture for survival. In other words, agriculture is the bedrock for man’s sustenance. However, go for a course you will enjoy studying.
In conclusion, most agricultural courses are five years programmes except for very few like nutrition and dietetics. Regardless of that, agricultural courses are very lucrative.
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