June 20, 2024

Career opportunities in ag abound: Where can ag take you?

ANDERSON, Ind. — There are many career opportunities in agriculture — and some are less obvious than others.

From biologists to sales representatives, conservationists to engineers, careers that tie to agriculture are everywhere.

“The dictionary defines agriculture as the science, art or practice of cultivating the soil, producing crops and raising livestock and the varying degrees of preparation and marketing the resulting products,” said Beth Vansickle, Purdue Extension educator in Madison County, during the 2021 Young Ladies in Ag virtual forum hosted by the Purdue Extension Women in Agriculture team.

“But when we think about the careers related to the ag field, that (definition) may not capture everything. There are so many career paths available to us that tie into the field of agriculture.”

There are several higher education options for those interested in ag. Representatives from Huntington University, Purdue University and Ivy Tech Community College shared a little about each school.

Purdue University

“We are a large, public research institution located in West Lafayette, Indiana,” said Andrea Lutz, assistant director of academic programs at Purdue. “The main campus is our largest campus. We have about 45,800 students.

“The College of Agriculture is an awesome, smaller home within the larger public research institution. Although we have 45,000 students, we have about 2,700 College of Agriculture students.

“The College of Ag is made up of 11 academic departments and 34 majors. There are quite a few different concentrations within each of our majors. So, in total, you have about 54 different educational opportunities within the college.”

Huntington University

“Huntington University is a small, Christian, liberal arts university,” said Jessica Baggerman, assistant professor of agriculture at Huntington University.

“We have about 1,300 students on our main campus in Huntington. All of our ag programs happen on the main campus. Within the agriculture program we have four majors and an agribusiness minor.

“The majors are: agribusiness — which has eight different concentrations — ag education, animal science and crop science.

“We also have a program called customized academic program, where you get to build your own major. We’ve had students interested in environmental science and agriculture. We’ve had customized programs for that. They can design something exactly within their interests.”

Ivy Tech Community College

“Ivy tech has several different campuses throughout the state,” said Stacy Ann Clupper, program chair at Ivy Tech.

“There are eight locations that have agriculture-related programs. At my campus in Marion, Indiana, we have a beautiful greenhouse facility.

“Ivy Tech specializes in helping students get those first two years of classwork done. We offer two different programs — an associates of applied science, or an associate’s degree with the intention of transferring to a four-year agricultural college.

“Ivy Tech has been working hard to make partnerships with other college and universities. A student could start an Ivy Tech and then transfer to Purdue or Huntington. We also have certification programs available.”

Erica Quinlan

Erica Quinlan

Field Editor