Many Missouri college students plan to pursue careers in agriculture – both on and off the farm – and institutions across the state are offering degree and certificate programs designed to help them achieve success in the industry.
Missouri is uniquely positioned to offer a multitude of options for agricultural education, more than most other states. If a young person is interested in higher- education opportunities in agriculture, the Show Me State is the place to be.
As a result, there’s an influx of young talent graduating with the knowledge and skills required to take advantage of the diverse, plentiful opportunities available in Missouri’s ever-growing agriculture field and fill voids in Missouri’s rural communities.
Colleges and Universities
The University of Missouri’s College of Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources (CAFNR) offers 14 undergraduate degree programs, such as agribusiness management, agricultural education and plant sciences, as well as a variety of minors like sustainable agriculture and forestry.
The college’s diverse academic programs appeal to a broad range of interests, which Dr. Bryan Garton, associate dean and director of academic programs at CAFNR, says helps set it apart.
“CAFNR’s size and breadth gives students the ability to explore what they want to do without leaving this university,” Garton says.
Career and Technical Schools
With its main campus in Linn, the State Technical College of Missouri also offers several academic programs for students interested in agriculture, such as commercial turf and grounds management, in which students get hands-on experience in a greenhouse; heavy equipment technology, which includes a Caterpillar program; and medium/heavy truck technology.
State Tech’s welding program also draws students who plan to pursue careers in agriculture, and according to Dr. Shawn Strong, college president, the program has become one of its most popular offerings.
Other agriculture-related academic programs at State Tech include precision and heavy equipment operations that play a key role in agriculture stewardships and soil conservation, where students learn to operate dozers, scrapers, wheel loaders, backhoes, excavators, graders and skid steers.
“Several of our degree programs have agricultural components or provide skills that can be used in agricultural careers, even though they may not be thought of as traditional agriculture programs,” Strong says.
Strong adds that State Tech attracts a large number of Missouri high school FFA members, many of who plan to work in agriculture.
“At State Tech, we have a 97 percent job-placement success rate,” Strong says. “The salaries our students earn 10 years after graduation are comparable to what those who graduated from four-year regional colleges make. Our students do very well, both immediately following graduation and long-term.”