I have been made aware the last two years just how important education is in agriculture. I have been struggling with the choice of spending 4 years of my life and $30,000+ to study for a Bachelor’s degree in crop science. The reason why it has been a struggle for me is that I have not wanted to quit my farming operation and spend all my and time and financial resources to an abstract thing which is education.
I first thought about an ag degree when I was 17, in 2010. At that time I was finishing my computer science degree at the local community college and I was burned out from school. I loved every aspect of farming and I often skipped class to plow fields and irrigate because I valued my farming success over my education. At that time I had no clear direction of how I would succeed In agriculture, I just understood that it was the industry I wanted to be in.
I was taught to talk to people who knew more than I did if I had a big life decision to make. From the summer of 2010 to the end of 2011, I talked to as many successful farmers as I could, asking them what they would do if they were in my position. They all said to go to school, no matter the cost of time and money. I still was not convinced, as I knew I could not farm as well as move to another area to study, and I loved the farming I was doing. However, this last year I made a simple mistake with a crop that ended up costing me roughly $10,000 and many sleepless nights. I realized that one mistake could have been prevented simply by some simple agronomy knowledge that would be attained from school.
That $10,000 mistake would have paid for a year of tuition. After I understood that, I realized that I am too young to not get a formal education in agriculture. Why not invest the money I lost from my mistakes into an education? I hope to be in agriculture for many years, and if I can prevent even a fraction of mistakes with knowledge, a college education would pay huge dividends.
Perhaps you are in a similar place in life as I was. If you are considering school, I encourage you to think about just how short 4 years is in your life. It may seem overwhelming now, but I believe looking back, those 4’years of education and “broadening your horizons” would be well worth the cost.