Few community colleges offer degree
programs, however, and most are linked
to agribusiness programs that boast
proven career paths and employment
demand. Dozens of available courses
cover a wide swath of conventional agricultural operations, but the majority of
those courses have not yet caught up to
the specialized demand inherent in niche
farming markets, including organic
products, herbs and herbicides, nutra-ceuticals, and biofuels, to name a few.
Colleges need to take advantage of the many
organizations that have been working with
agriculture and food systems for
resources, curricula, instructors,
and as partners.
Food and Agricultural Information
System data indicate that in 2009,
4,700 associate degrees were awarded
in agriculture-related fields, including
two- and four-year institutions, with an
estimated 3,900 awarded at community
colleges. But degrees are only one indicator of the economic value of agricultural
education programs. Many of these same
types of courses often attract students
who already have college degrees and
enroll instead to acquire specialized
Consider these ideas:
What can community colleges do to
meet the growing potential of opportunities in diversified and sustainable
food systems clusters?
need to recognize the
full economic potential
of growing high-value-
added specialty foods on
small farms and its entrepreneurial
structure to ensure their available
career paths reflect the reality. This
means educating students about the
multiple types of entrepreneurial and
employment possibilities associated
with smaller-scale food systems.
Colleges should also
expand the scope of
available programs to
cover diversified and
sustainable food systems,
LEARN AT OUR SCHOOL. LEAD AT YOURS.
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expected to retire in the next five to ten years, *
faculty and administrators need to be ready to lead.
Begin preparing for a leadership role today with a
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• An interest-free monthly payment plan is
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DOCTOR OF MANAGEMENT
IN COMMUNITY COLLEGE POLICY AND ADMINISTRATION
800-888-UMUC • umuc.edu/cclead
Program not available to Maryland residents.
*Study by the American Association of Community Colleges.
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