Program to offer new way of teaching ag
NEW BRUNSWICK (March 15, 2018) — The Agribusiness Scholars Program, set to launch at Rutgers University in Fall 2018, will combine all aspects of the Extension model — outreach, education and research — in a program designed to introduce students to the real world aspects of agriculture.
Funded by a grant from The Clearing Corporation Charitable Foundation, the honors program will be a two-year, 18-credit program available to qualified students entering their junior year at the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Science.
Its underlying goal is to prepare students for the workforce via direct exposures to the issues they will face on the job, and to help them begin to build the network they will need once they begin careers in the agricultural sector.
To do this, Brian Schilling, an associate Extension specialist in Agricultural Policy at Rutgers University and Stephen Komar, a Sussex County Extension agent, have partnered together to create the program.
The CCCF Agribusiness Scholars Program aims to improve agricultural teaching by “bringing research into the classroom, and the Extension experience into the classroom,” Schilling said. It will bring “a new way of teaching into the classroom.”
Campus-based Extension specialists play a complimentary role to county Extension agents.
While most farmers are well-acquainted with their county representatives, and may work with them on a regular basis, campus-based agents may not be as familiar or accessible. For students, the opposite is often true.
While county agents traditionally provide the latest research and information coming from the campus-based staff and make it available to farmers on the local level, teaching and research tend to primarily occupy campus-based Extension agents.
The new CCCF Agribusiness Scholars program will offer the opportunity for those normally involved in outreach to get into the classroom, Schilling said.
By bringing Extension outreach experience into the classroom, students are given a different perspective on industry issues.
Qualified students who maintain a 3.0 grade point average in the spring of their sophomore year and are enrolled in a relevant major, are eligible to apply.
Upon successful matriculation, the designation of a Clearing Corporation Charitable Foundation Agribusiness Scholar will be awarded, along with their major and minor degrees.
The program will include two capstone seminars, which will involve “engaging with policymakers,” Schilling said. Students will be exposed to Farm Bureau staff, to Wall Street financiers, and private-sector agricultural leaders from various segments of the industry.
This exposure will provide the opportunity to see firsthand how the world of agribusiness functions, and will help students to make professional connections and be exposed to internship and job opportunities.
Along with these seminars, field trips and other networking events will add a three dimensional focus to the classwork.
Core classes will include: agricultural financing; economics; accounting; business management; and critical issues analysis.
Preparing students to enter the agricultural world, no matter how they chose to be engaged — as farmers, private industry representatives, educators, marketers or even Extension agents — is the purpose of the CCCF Agribusiness Scholars program.
By better equipping the next generation for the demands and reality facing the farming sector today, the agricultural industry can remain and grow as a vital segment of our economy.
According the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the food, agriculture and renewable energy sectors will have a need for skilled workers. Many jobs are expected focus on business and management aspects.
The demand for personnel is anticipated to outpace the number of graduates from traditional agricultural majors.
The Agribusiness Scholars Program is one way to meet this projected need, producing professionals with a solid understanding of the business of agriculture.
“Extension is about identifying a need, and developing a program to address that need,” Schilling said.
This program was designed to do just that.
The first round of student applications closed on Feb. 26.
Accepted students will become the initial class, forging the way for an enhanced understanding of agricultural issues, beyond the fields.
The Agribusiness Scholars Program is seeking additional funding to fully support its mission of preparing students for vital careers in this industry sector.
The CCCF is matching donations received, through March 31, on a dollar for dollar basis, up to $250,000.
For more information, visit http://clearingagscholars.rutgers.edu/
1-800-634-5021 410-822-3965 Fax- 410-822-5068
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