CALS Sees Growth in Demand, Opportunities for Agriculture Grads

UA AgDiscovery Camp participants tour Imperial Date Gardens in Yuma. Medjool dates were introduced to Yuma orchards in 1944 and thrive in conditions near the Colorado River. (Photo by Tanya Hodges)
UA AgDiscovery Camp participants tour Imperial Date Gardens in Yuma. Medjool dates were introduced to Yuma orchards in 1944 and thrive in conditions near the Colorado River. (Photo by Tanya Hodges)

With growing demand for jobs in agriculture, degrees are at a premium.

At the UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, undergraduate enrollment has increased nearly 18 percent since 2008, with students gaining the hands-on, real world skills required to land a job following graduation.

“We are working to ensure that when our students graduate, they are ready for employment,” said Joy Winzerling, the Bart Cardon associate dean for academic programs and career development. “In certain disciplines – including agribusiness economics and management and agricultural technology management and education – we are seeing 100 percent placement in jobs among recent graduates.”

Some graduates are finding starting salaries at $40,000 and higher.

CALS, the oldest college on campus and a founding member of the BIO5 Institute, draws students who are interested in feeding the world’s hungry, curing and preventing disease, improving the ecosystem, finding a solution to dependency on foreign oil and other global challenges.

The best and brightest students are needed to address these challenges in the future. To expose teens to careers in agriculture, UA offers AgDiscovery Camp to students ages 12 to 17.

Agriculture generates 22 million jobs in the country – with most off the farm. Data from the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Agriculture indicate expected growth in most agriculture-related fields.

“We do cows, we do plows and we do so many other things in agriculture and the life sciences,” Winzerling said of a CALS education. “It is really very exciting.”

From sustainable plant systems to water policy, biosystems engineering, nutritional sciences, retail, child development and race track management, CALS offers a diversity of majors unequaled in other colleges.

“We are almost like a mini-university because of the breadth of the majors we have,” said Kyle Sharp, coordinator of career services at CALS.

Said Winzerling, “The disciplines have evolved to match the needs today and address what the needs will be in the future. It’s science at work.”

CALS students participate in global research. Among the areas of study: a NASA partnership investigating the possibility of growing food on Mars; developing non-toxic strategies to protect crops from pests around the globe; reducing global water shortages and stemming the spread of disease.

“We are combining science and technology and applying it to real world problems,” Winzerling said. “Science moves at a rapid pace. At the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, we put that science to work.”

Read the rest of this April 4, 2013 UANews article at the link below.

Date released: 
Apr 23 2013
Contact: 
Joy Winzerling