BEEF Daily

Yahoo! Thinks Your Ag Degree Is Worthless


Read more industry discussion on the Yahoo! article here and here.

Agriculture is the nation's largest employer with 23 million jobs directly related to food production in the U.S. So it was kind of disconcerting when Yahoo! News, in a recent article entitled, "College Majors That Are Useless," listed agricultural fields as being three of the top college degrees to avoid "if you are "going back to school in hopes of graduating to more job opportunities."

“Want to make sure you don't pick a dud of a degree? Check out our list of most useless degrees,” reports Yahoo!

  1. Agriculture
  2. Fashion design
  3. Theater
  4. Animal science
  5. Horticulture

Is Yahoo! serious? Of the five, three are related to agriculture. I’m betting these writers eat food and use agricultural by-products on a daily basis that they probably don't realize, which exposes this report is completely ignorant and naive. It doesn’t recognize the fact that there are now 7 billion people on this planet, and it’s the professionals in agriculture, animal science and horticulture who are going to dedicate their careers to sustainably improving our efficiencies through improved technology in order to feed a growing world.

The agricultural community is going viral with these positive messaging on agriculture careers. Here are a few worth passing along:

Animal Scientists Respond To Yahoo!’s “College Majors That Are Useless”

According To Job Experts, Ag Is A "Useless" Degree

USDA: Employment Opportunities For College Graduates

Yahoo's "College Degrees That Are Useless?" Really?

How are you using your agriculture degree? What opportunities have arisen because you chose a career in animal science or horticulture? What do you want Yahoo! to know about what you do in agriculture?

Discuss this Blog Entry 17

Oran Watson (not verified)
on Jan 23, 2012

Maybe the "writer" should adopt the truism that if you don't know what you're talking (writing) about, silence is a great alternative.

Yahoo "news" is an oxymoron. (Big word for an ag. major.)

scott buckles (not verified)
on Jan 23, 2012

Interesting. Since when did we start using Yahoo as an indicator of things to come. Yahoo is just one more example why the media and corporate America is out of touch with reality. If there ever is a food issue in this country they eat last.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Jan 23, 2012

It pays to look a little closer look at such "surveys" and "studies".

1. Although the article indicates the survey included "nearly 1000" companies, if you actually look at the document, only 244 companies actually responded to the survey (pages 35 and 36 of the survey).

2. If you examine the list of companies that did respond to the survey, at most 4 might be considered Ag based companies, and more importantly, if you look at figure 51 on page 34 you will see that of the 244 companies that did respond, only 1 (0.4%) of the responding companies was classified as an Agricultural business.

Without knowing exactly how the survey was done and how questions were asked, the possibilities are:

-at worst, the response category for Ag/Animal/Veterinary and the characterization of the career opportunities for students possessing such degrees were based on a single response,


-at best the response is totally misleading since the survey represented responses from businesses with little or no relationship or relevance to career opportunities in Ag/Animal/Veterinary science.

It is irresponsible as both a researcher and a communicator to put such information out without some characterization of its limitations. With only 244 total respondents, any categorical interpretation of career opportunities in ANY area is highly questionable. The highest number of respondents in any group was 28 in Finance, Insurance & Real Estate! Headlines do however garner attention if that is the purpose.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Jan 23, 2012


on Jan 23, 2012

Oran and Scott, I totally agree. I can't remember the last time I used Yahoo to search for any information. A relevant news piece? Definitely not. But, do they need to be corrected? Absolutely.

Oran Watson (not verified)
on Jan 23, 2012

The author would most likely not even recognize he was being corrected. Too busy consuming the bounty of U.S. ag production, or writing critical celebrity news.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Jan 23, 2012
Keith McFall (not verified)
on Jan 23, 2012

My AgEd degree has served me quite well. I used in teaching then moved to working in a chemical plant R & D area where our group did it when the textbook said it wouldn't be done. I left there and went into airospace engineering and my design change has made it into space. THANKS Ag degree.
Keith McFall

yhelman (not verified)
on Jan 23, 2012

That's the reason why no one is using Yahoo!.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Jan 23, 2012

It is not clear to me where and how the actual article/information was distributed, or posted. WIth an ag degree and lifelong ag interests, vocations and success in agriculture, I would like to read the details and have a source to respond to---not just forward their message and your reactions with no purpose. Bill Goldsmith..

on Jan 24, 2012

This certainly garnered a lot of attention from those of us in agriculture, and I think this was the perfect opportunity to educate others about how farmers and ranchers feed the world and boost the nation's economy. Let's continue these great discussions, with a positive attitude and messaging on social media that is constructive and conducive to creating relationships with our consumers. Thanks for weighing in everyone!

brmaze (not verified)
on Jan 25, 2012

I have been critized for pursuing a second degree in Agriculture, but in only one semester so many doors have opended for me into the world of agriculture (which i have been involved in for 26 years).
If you eat, wear clothes, drive a car, or even print this very article out on a piece of copy paper, you ARE involved in Agriculture.
I personally do not consider any degree to be useless, though some may offer a much higher pay scale than others, If you have put in the time and effort to complete your college education and you enjoy what you do, then it is not useless.

on Jan 25, 2012

BRmaze, you are spot-on with your assessment! Thanks for all that you do!

Anonymous (not verified)
on Apr 15, 2012

He was chewing on a BLT and drinking skimmed milk while writing ....maybe he is a vegetarian or a vegan . We are really useless...I will like to thank my heart surgeon for my grass feed Angus stakes, my electrical engineer for Kentucky 31 and for training ANIMAL KINGDOM. I will like to thank my podiatrist and pilot for the jumbo Cornish and most important tacos and wings that make the superbowl great. I love guacamole for that I thank the business administrator . Thank you all.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Aug 10, 2012

The most worthless degree, is being praised as the best in another article--Business Administration. I have an MBA, it doesn't teach you a thing about real assets, just cashflow, marketing and financial nonsense. The future jobs will be in Manufacturing, Agriculture, Mining, Petroleum, engineering, etc.

livalittle (not verified)
on Oct 9, 2012

I really hate those articles... like a degree defines who you are or what you are going to do with your life. I majored in Anthropology and Religion, they were not easy majors... In fact they were very hard but I enjoyed them so much. I wanted to be an Enviromental Studies major but it wasn't offered for my class. In college I got over my eating disorder and got really into eating organic and being super healthy, caring about what goes into our bodies is important. I researched and researched and learned so much about our food industry, and now I am going to go to graduate school for Ag. The problem is people forget that we need farmers and people to work with their hands. Our Ag industry needs a huge overhaul because it's been taken over by giant corporations with a bunch of fat cats, who know dick about farming or healthy food, trying to cut out everyone and put their farmers in debt so they can profit. Food used to be grown as a way to survive, help your community, and profit. It was about hard work and accomplishing something. Helping your fellow man, now we are only worried about making as much money as possible. It isn't about making sure people are eating right or understanding where their food comes from, it's about fat pockets and exploitation. Overhaul our food industry, get rid of giant corporations and go back to local markets and growers, make healthy food more available to the public and we can help our health care system. I'd like to see a bunch of engineers and lawyers doing that... but wait, healthier people means less people needing to go to the doctor and now it seems almost all doctors are just in it for the money, or it becomes that.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Dec 21, 2012

I have a MS degree from Virginia Tech in Ag and haven't worked since the recession hit and I got laid off back in 2009. I wasn't working in Ag before the layoff because I never able to find employment in my field. There doesn't seem to be many jobs good around here (Eastern Virginia) in Ag or for that matter anything else. I guess if I moved somewhere else I might be able to find work in Ag but at my age (40) I am just not interested in starting over somewhere else.

So yeah I would have to agree is pretty worthless!

Please or Register to post comments.

What's BEEF Daily?

BEEF Daily Blog is produced by rancher Amanda Radke, one of the U.S. beef industry’s top social media “agvocates.”


Amanda Radke

Amanda Radke is a fifth generation rancher from Mitchell, S.D., who has dedicated her career to serving as a voice for the nation’s beef producers. A 2009 graduate of South Dakota State...

Sponsored Introduction Continue on to (or wait seconds) ×