Perhaps the economy is suffering and people have problems finding jobs, but you wouldn't know it from enrollment or job placement records from the Purdue University College of Agriculture. Dean Jay Akridge reported to members of the Indiana Certified Crop Association recently that the undergraduate program at Purdue in agriculture is alive and well.
Akridge was introduced by Tony Vyn, an Extension agronomist at Purdue. He noted that Akridge has a long history at Purdue, and is now in his third year as Dean of the College of Agriculture. Akridge was there at the meeting to show his support for the CCA program. The conference is a joint effort with Purdue Extension. Many of the speakers were from Purdue, although some came from other states to speak on topics where they are considered experts in their fields.
Akridge notes that enrollment on the West Lafayette campus in agriculture last fall topped 2,700 students, and said enrollment continues to rise. "Part of that is because for the most part, our graduates are finding jobs," he says. "Students want to know if there will be a job waiting for them, and so far in agriculture we have a pretty good track record, even during the recent tough times."
He believes that may be partly because agriculture has so far not suffered nearly as much as many other areas of the economy. That's why companies are still hiring ag graduates, he believes. He noted that 80% of the undergraduate students currently enrolled in agriculture at Purdue are from Indiana. The university is often criticized for accepting out-of-state students at the expense of turning down Indiana students who may not have as glowing a record on academic studies.Akridge also noted that women now outnumber men in the College of Agriculture. That's a complete turnaround from just a few decades ago, when men outnumbered women in the ag school by a large margin.