A new agribusiness degree program is being offered at Grace College, Winona Lake, Ind. Dr. Bill Katip, president of the college, announced the new program today at the Barn & Business Breakfast at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center. Beginning in the fall of 2017, an associate degree of applied science in agribusiness and a bachelor degree of science in agribusiness will be available. The curriculum will combine science, business, and new agriculture courses to provide students with the competencies necessary to run farms and pursue a variety of agriculture careers in today’s marketplace.
“For more than three years we have researched and developed the agribusiness program to best meet the needs of our region and current economy. We’ve long realized the importance and prominence of agriculture in our county and state; this degree program is our response,” said Dr. Katip. “We want to prepare the next generation of farm CEOs, CFOs and independent farmers to amply feed of our state, nation, and world from right here in Kosciusko County.”
According to the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, agriculture is one of the best fields for new college graduates, offering ample career opportunities, good pay and job satisfaction. A significant deficit of graduates available to fill agriculture job openings currently exists and, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, “these jobs will only become more important as we continue to develop solutions to feed more than 9 billion people by 2050.[i]”
Dr. Jeffrey Fawcett, dean of the School of Business at Grace College, led the development of the agribusiness program. In collaboration with several area agriculture professionals, a relevant curriculum was created for the current marketplace.
“The Grace College program is designed to educate the student with an agriculture background, such as a family farm, who wishes to return home upon graduation to run the family business. It’s also geared to prepare students for an agriculture business career in jobs such as provider, processor, and marketer,” he said.
To augment classroom instruction, a hallmark of the Grace agribusiness program will be real-world preparation through internship experience. Unique to Grace College, agribusiness students will be required to complete three integrated internships – totaling seven months – to adequately experience the entire growing season.
“We believe it’s imperative that students graduate with a working knowledge of the whole crop cycle,” he said.
The associate degree of applied science in agribusiness will include 60 total hours while the bachelor degree of science in agribusiness will be comprised of 120 hours. Both degrees will include courses from the liberal arts Grace Core, traditional business classes, science courses and new agribusiness classes such as Agricultural Economics, Ag and Commodity Marketing, and Sustaining the Family Business.
“As with all programs at Grace College, our agribusiness program will prepare career-ready students through a Christ-centered curriculum,” stated Katip. “We are eager to begin this new degree program in partnership with local farms and businesses as we seek to fulfill a significant need in our region.”