Looking from the outside in, a university’s agriculture program can seem like its own club. With only a handful of exceptions, the College of Agricultural Sciences is small in comparison to other programs. Without getting to know the ag majors within these halls, we can look disinterested and unapproachable. Most of us walk with muddy boots on our feet and a t-shirt on our backs. We look tired, and sometimes dirty. The stereotype is that we all come from farms and that’s where we are destined. You can’t help but wonder what we are even doing here.
Ag majors are their own breed. Our passion drives us and gives us that tired look. We know how to stay busy. A good portion of us work on university farms, whether it be in a greenhouse, a field, a lab, or a barn. We are incredibly active in clubs and organizations such as Collegiate FFA, Postsecondary Agriculture Students, Agriculture Education Club, Agronomy Society or recruiting for our beloved college. Many of us have Greek letters we are proud of, and we still have to study for that killer chemistry exam. Do we regret any of it? Not one bit.
Some of us have never stepped foot on a farm, and likely never will. Ag majors come from major cities, too. Ag majors don’t just study crops or cattle. Majors like nutrition and dietetics, and hospitality and tourism are proudly held here. Some of us hold office jobs, and want to stay that way. We are scientists, businessmen, writers and teachers. Yes, a sizable number of us want to go back home and farm. We are in college to learn how to effectively manage a business and care for our animals to the best of our abilities. Farming isn’t just about reading the weather forecast to see when to plant anymore. Technology is involved in all we do, and we want to be ahead of the curve.
At the end of the day, we know we are different. We don’t ask to be fully understood or appreciated. We would just like to be accepted. When one of us comes into speech class smelly from work or tired and grumpy from judging an FFA event the night before, be sympathetic. At the very least, don’t snub us off. Don’t hold us to our stereotype of being dumb, racist and ignorant. We are smarter than we look, more open-minded than we are given credit for, and more understanding than you know.
The College of Agricultural Sciences is a college dedicated to feeding, clothing, and supplying the entire population. Our majors give you the ability to major in the humanities, music or microbiology. Not all of us can be doctors or lawyers. Most of us know that we won’t be rich one day. That doesn’t matter one bit to us. We are simply proud to provide sustenance and life to those who make our society so complex and innovative.