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Group Title: Agronomy research report - University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Science ; AY-1986-16
Title: Past, present, and future significance of agronomy
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00056065/00001
 Material Information
Title: Past, present, and future significance of agronomy
Series Title: Agronomy research report
Physical Description: 56 leaves : ill. ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Gallaher, Raymond N
Dean, Charles Edgar, 1929-
McNeal, Brian Lester, 1938-
University of Florida -- Agronomy Dept
Publisher: Agronomy Department, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville Fla
Publication Date: [1986?]
 Subjects
Subject: Agronomy -- Study and teaching (Higher) -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Agronomy -- Study and teaching (Higher)   ( lcsh )
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: by Raymond N. Gallaher, Charles E. Dean, and Brian L. McNeal.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 55-56).
General Note: Agronomy research report - University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Science ; AY-1986-16
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Bibliographic ID: UF00056065
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 62524248

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Full Text





HISTORIC NOTE


The publications in this collection do
not reflect current scientific knowledge
or recommendations. These texts
represent the historic publishing
record of the Institute for Food and
Agricultural Sciences and should be
used only to trace the historic work of
the Institute and its staff. Current IFAS
research may be found on the
Electronic Data Information Source
(EDIS)

site maintained by the Florida
Cooperative Extension Service.






Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
of Florida





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Agronomy Research Report AY-1986-16


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Past, Present, and Future Significance of Agronomy






By


Raymond N. Gallaher, Charles E. Dean, and Brian L. McNeal


Professor of Agronomy, Department
Department Chairman and Professor
Agricultural Sciences, University


Chairman and Professor of Agronomy, and
of Soil Science, Institute of Food and
of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611.









Agronomy Research Report AY-1986-16


Past, Present, and Future. Significance of Agronomy


By


Raymond N. Gallaher, Charles E. Dean, and Brian L. McNeal



Professor of Agronomy, Department Chairman and Professor of Agronomy, and Department

Chairman and Professor of Soil Science, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences,

University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611.




INTRODUCTION



Agronomy is a scientific profession which has made significant contributions

toward the enhancement of a wholesome and sustainable food supply necessary for the

survival of mankind. The profession is not very well understood nor is it, as

believed by many agronomists, adequately appreciated by society. The objective of

this paper is to explore the past, present, and future significance of agronomy,

with special emphasis on conceptions among agronomists located at land grant

colleges of agriculture in the United States and its territories.










MATERIALS AND METHODS


Beginning in August 1983 the senior author received a National Kellogg

Fellowship which provided primary support for this study. From 1983 to 1986 all 56

of the 1862-type land grant colleges-of "agriculture in the U.S. and its territories

were visited and interviews were conducted with about 100 leading agronomists and

their associates regarding the subject of this paper. Some of the questions

discussed with these scientists and which will be included in this paper were

these: 1) Please define agronomy in your own words? 2) What are some of the current

opportunities for agronomy/agricultural-student majors? 3) Is there a shortage of

agronomy/agricultural students? 4) How well do we communicate our story about

agronomy/agriculture teaching, research, and extension to the public? and 5) What

are some major problems facing agronomists/agriculture today and in the future?

Answers by these scientists have been tabulated and grouped by region of the U.S.

Supplemental literature was incorporated with the interview information.


RESULTS AND DISCUSSION


What is Agronomy?


Past definition


While we do not claim that Adam (believed by many to be the first man, Genesis,

1:27) was the first agronomist, he certainly was assigned some of the
responsibilities of an agronomist. Adam was told to fill the earth and to subdue it

(Genesis, 1:28). He was also placed in a garden with the responsibility to work and

take care of it (Genesis, 2:15), because he had earlier been told that man had been









given plants for food (Genesis, 1:30). We can at least say that agronomy was

important for the survival of early man. Later in history we observe a familiar

priority of working and caring for plants, when Solomin said "First plant your

fields; then build your house" (Proverbs, 24:27). 'This statement maintains

Solomon's image with respect to wisdom or at least common sense, concerning a proper

order of activities for the well-being and survival of man.

The word agronomy is derived from the Greek through French (English "agronomy"

< French "agronome" < Greek "agronomos"). The Greek word "agronomos" is in turn

derived from two words; "agros" meaning "rural" or "field",. and "nemo" or "nemein"

meaning to "distribute", "manage", "dispense", or "acdinister". Thus, "agronomos"

has the meaning of "overseer of public lands", "protector of public lands", or "the

management of land, rural economy, and husbandry" (Funk, et. al. 1960; Murray, 1888;

Whitney, 1889; Webster, 1978). These ancient words from which the word agronomy is

derived have the further meaning of "to arrange and study systematically".

Several dictionaries define agronomy as follows: "Agronomy is the science that

treats of the distribution and management of land, especially as a source of

national wealth" (Funk et al, 1960). Funk goes on to say that "an agronomist is one

who applies agronomic principles to the management of land" and that agronomy is

"scientific husbandry". According to Webster, 1978, agronomy (Greek "agronomos") is

"that branch of agriculture dealing with the theory and practice of field-crop

production and soil management". Another source has stated that agronomicss is the

science of the management of farms; that division of the sciences of political

economy which treats of the management of farming lands" (Whitney, 1889). One of

the key words common to the history of the word agronomy is "management". If one

manages then one has to "arrange and study systematically", as indicated earlier.

Another, more-recent definition of agronomy was proposed by Dalal-Clayton, 1981, in

which he stated that "Agronomy is the branch of agriculture concerned with the









theory and practice of field-crop production and the scientific management of the

soil."


Present definition



Although there appears to be historical agreement among a number of scholars on

the definition and derivation of agronomy, agronomy has become so broad in scope

today that it is often difficult to convey its meaning to people outside the field

of agronomy in today's modern world. Note even the diverse answers to the question

"What is agronomy" by 67 of today's leading U.S. agronomists (Table 1). Very few of

these agronomic scholars use the same statements to define agronomy. However, to

most agronomists each definition given is essentially correct, and it would be

understood by all experienced agronomists. Several key words are common to several

of these definitions: "Field crop" or "crops" was used in the definitions by 68% of

the respondents, 67% used "soil" or "land" in their definition, 59% used

"production", 29% used "study" or "management", and 11% used "environment" (Table

1). While 18% included "plants" in their definition of agronomy, this does not

distinguish other scientific fields such as botany, forestry, horticulture, plant

pathology, nematology, and entomology. Scientists in these fields also work with

specific groups of plants or with plants in general. Utilizing the major key words

(Table 1) we can attempt to combine all 66 definitions into one as follows:

Agronomy is a "scientific" area of academic and scholarly "study" that deals with

the "production" and "management" of "field crops", sod crops, and weed control. It

encompasses "soil management" and the maintenance of a quality "environment" for a

more profitable, sustainable, and wholesome, supply of feed for farm animals and of

fiber and food for mankind.

Throughout the 66 definitions given by today's leading agronomists there is in








Table 1. Definitions of Agronomy by Agronomists and other Scientists
--- -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Source Region/University Definition (Agronomy/Agronomist)
New England States
New England States


F.P. Eggert Univ. of Maine

A.V. Barker Univ. of Massachusetts

D.M. Rogers Univ. of New Hampshire

W.M. Murphy Univ. of Vermont


Mid-Atlantic States

Rutgers Univ.

Rutgers Univ.

Cornell Univ.

Pennsylvania State Univ.

Pennsylvania State Univ.


Southern States

Auburn University

Auburn University

Univ. of Arkansas


"A study of what is happening in the soil and to the soil."

"The study of field crop production and soils."

"The study of field crops and soils."

"A scientist who works to try to help farmers to produce their crops at less
expense to them and less expense to the environment, to help our agriculture
to be more long-term."



"The science of crop production including everything :that goes along with it."

"The study of the management of soils and production of field crops."

"The management of soils and crops."

"Crop production and soil management."

"The theory and practice related to the production and management of soils
that is obviously necessary:for crop.production."


"The science of plant and soil interactions."

"The study of crops and soil sciences."

"The science of crop production and land management."


a M.V.

J.R.

R.F.

D.D.

J.L.


R.L.

J.T.

F.P.


Adams

Justin

Lucey

Fritton

Starling


Guthrie

Touchton

Miller








Table 1. Continued 1
-Sou--------------------ce Regiony Definition (ronomy-------------------------------Agronomi-------------------st----------------------
Source Region/University Definition (Agronomy/Agronomist)
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


R.N. Gallaher


W.L. Colville


R.H.

H.F.


Brown

Perkins


A.J. Hiatt


J.P.

F.L.

D.A.


M.K.

A.M.

R.R.


Jones

Bentz

Hegwood


Aycock

Decker

Davis


Southern

Univ. of


States

Florida


Univ. of Georgia


Univ.

Univ.


Georgia

Georgia


Univ. of Kentucky


Louisana State Univ.

Univ. of Maryland

Univ. of Maryland


Uni v.

Univ.

Univ.


Maryland

Maryland

Mississippi


"The application of chemistry, physics, and biology in the production of a
wholesome food supply and the maintenance of a quality environment."

"The profession that feeds the world." "The development and use of plant
and soil sciences to produce abundant high-quality food and fiber crops and
the maintenance of a quality environment."

"The study of crops and soils."

"A scientist trained in the growth of plants and the maintenance of a
quality environment through the study of the soil and the application of the
principles involved."

"The -science that improves management and production: of crops and
understanding of the management of soil on which these crops are grown."

"A scientist educated and trained in crop science and soil science."

"The study of soil science and crop production."

"The science and technology of soils and plants and their use in the
production of food, feed, and fiber."

"The study of two areas, crops and soils."

"The art and science of crop and soil management."

"Well I've been trying to define agronomy for my wife and kids for years."


E.J. Kamprath North Carolina State Univ.


"The growing and culture of plants."







Table 1. Continued 2

Source Region/University Definition (Agronomy/Agronomist)


A.D. Worsham

J.R. Anderson

M.G. Wagger

D.S. Chamblee

J.M. DiPadla

Ralph Franklin

oo S.R. Chapman

W.T. Ochll

W.L. Parks


E.L. Ashburn



D.D. Wolf

G.W. Hawkins

D.R. Ford


Southern States

North Carolina State Univ.

North Carolina State Univ.

North Carolina State Univ.

North Carolina State Univ.

North Carolina State Univ.

Clemson Univ.

Clemson Univ.

Clemson Univ.

Univ. of Tennessee


Univ. of Tennessee



Virginia Polytechnic Inst.

Virginia Polytechnic Inst.

Virginia Polytechnic Inst.


"Growing food for hungry people."

"The theory and practice of crop production and soil management."

"A study of crops and soils."

"The science of soils and crop production."

"The study of agricultural soils and plants."

"The study of field crops and soil."

"A scientists trained in the fundamental sciences relating to plant science."

"The study of plants involved in food production and animal production."

"The science of crop production aspects which impact the farmer's ability to
produce from beginning to end."

"An effort for mankind to match resources of plants, water, soils, and
environment and the utilization of available technology to.better produce
food, feed, and fiber for this and future generations in order to improve
mankind's lot on the face of this earth."

"The production of field crops and associated factors."

"The study of soils and crops and crop production and soil management."

"The science of crops and soils."






Table 1. Continued 3
--------------------V------------
Source Region/Uni versi ty
-----------------------------
Mid-Western States

Larry Schrader Univ. of Illinois

D.A. Holt Univ. of Illinois


M.W.

K.L.


Phillips

Larson


J.T. Pesek


SG.E. Han


D.R. Isleib

R.L. Thompson

B.G. Volk

Darrell Nelson


J. D.

J.M.

M.L.

R.A.


Nalewaja

Bigham

Horton

Forsberg


Purdue Univ.

Iowa State Univ.


Iowa State Univ.


Kansas State Univ.


Michigan State Univ.

Univ. of Minnesota

Univ. of Missouri

Univ. of Nebraska


North Dakota State Univ.

Ohio State Univ.

South Dakota State Univ.

Univ. of Wisconsin


Definition (Agronomy/Agronomist)


"The soil and crop science."

"The science and practice of field crop production, weed control,
and soil management."

"Crop production and soil management."

"The study and science of producing, improving, managing, and utilizing crops
and related soil science."

"The science and practice of crop production, soil management, and
climatology."

"The science of crop production and soil management and the application of
that in the production of food, feed, and fiber to feed and cloth people."

"The science that contributes to crop production."

"The study of plants, soils, and their interactions with the environment."

"The science that considers plants and soils as a continuum."

"The art and science of growing field and forage crops using soil as a
medium for plant growth."

"The study of production agriculture and all its aspects."

"A combination of science of crops and soils."

"The science of crop production and the influence of soils."

"Large-scale crop production."









Table 1. Continued 4
-----------------------------------------------.


Source


W. W.

A.D.

L.A.


Kilby

Day

Daugherty


P.W. Santelmann,



J.R. Fenwick

5 W.F. Keim

D.V. Naylor

H.G. Smith

A.R. ,Southard

L.I. Painter



D.W. Raines

J.C. Engibous


Region/University


South-Western States

Univ. of Arizona

Univ. of Arizona

New Mexico State Univ.


Oklahoma State Univ.

Rocky-Mountain States

Colorado State Univ.

Colorado State Univ.

Univ. of Idaho

Univ. of Nevada

Utah State Univ.

Univ. of Wyoming

Pacific Coastal States

Univ. of California

Washington State Univ.


Definition (Agronomy/Agronomist)
------------------------------------------------

"The science and production of primarily field crops."

"The study of crops and soils."

"The science of soil management and crop production for the production of
food and fiber."

"The science of managing crops and soils to produce agricultural products."



"The science of tying together the aspects of both.plants and soils."

"The scientific study of factors affecting plant growth."

"The science of crop production."

"That portion of agriculture which grows crops for consumption by humans."

"The scientific and systematic approach to growing food, feed, and fiber."

"Studying factors affecting crop production and pest management."



"The art and science of management of field crops."

"The science and application of crop culture in environments in which they
grow, including soils, atmospheres, and water regimes."










Table 1. Continued 5
----------------------------
Source Region/Uni versity
-------------------------
Mesic

F.J. Wooding Univ. of Alaska

Tropic

S.A. El-Swaify Univ. of Hawaii


L.M. Cruz Perez


Univ. of Puerto Rico


Definition (Agronomy/Agronomist)
ememe------------------------------------------------m---------------------------------


"The production of food on a large sacle."



"The science that deals with the art and creation of knowledge for better
and more sustained production of food, forage, fiber, and fuel."

"The field of agricultural science that deals with field crop production
and soil management."


-- - - - - - - - - - - - ------"" "---------------









general a continuity which is in harmony with the oerivation from the Greek word

"agronomos". Our composite odfinition, utilizing key words from all these 66

obfinitions, is somewhat in harmony with the obfinition sanctioned by the American

Society of Agronomy (1985): "Agronomy is the obvelopment and use of plant and soil

sciences to produce abundant, high-quality food and fiber crops in a quality

environment." The latter definition was written to help define agronomy to the

general public. Although it is short and to the point, it also utilizes the word

"plants" instead of "crops", which fails to distinguish this field from several

other scientific disciplines. The definition also leaves out many of the key words

used by many of our leading agronomists. One major problem with all definitions of

agronomy is that none of them, no matter how hard one tries, seems to convey all

shacks of the word "agronomy" to the public. There also seems to be a common

feeling among agronomists in general that we have a continuing problem conveying to

non-agronomists exactly what agronomy is and why agronomic teaching, research, and

extension is so vital to society.


What is an Agronomist?



Definition


Three of the 66 respondents (Table 1) gave the definition that most nearly fits

the question "What is an agronomist?" Defining an agronomist to a non-agronomist is

as difficult as obfining what agronomy is. The scenario often goes like this: What

kind of work do your do? I'm an agronomist! What is an agronomist? Well an

agronomist is a scientist who works with crops and soils. Oh, your work relates to

farming. Yes, but... By now the significance of what an agronomist really is has

been lost. While an agronomist certainly should not be ashamed of his









responsibility to work with and for the farmer, the fact is that agronomists work

for the benefit of all consumers. The farm population and agribusiness are two of

the production and industry groups through which the scientific and scholarly

activities of agronomists are fulfilled. The total population ultimately benefits,

however, from more food, better quality .and less expensive food, and a cleaner

environment. When the farmer has economic problems, however, the general public and

other scientists in academia may tend to think that agronomic teaching, research,

and extension activities should receive less funding and emphasis. This appears to

be happening somewhat in the mid-1980's when we find the American farmer heavily in

debt. The U.S. Government's agriculture policy has been one that encourages strong

competition and maximum production among our farmers (i.e. a cheap food policy),

resulting in a huge U.S. surplus of agronomic farm products. More recently,

however, funding for production agriculture has been discouraged at all levels of

state and federal administration and by politicians who are increasingly from

non-farm areas. We hear a cry for new and innovative technologies with which to

solve future food-production problems, while agronomists are already being partially

blamed for the present production surplus. Not only is funding for agricultural

programs in land grant colleges being cut, but we see other fields in colleges of

agriculture downgrading production science and trying to divert traditional support

to their programs. More will be discussed on this point later.


Training


One way to better understand the definition of an agronomist would be to look

at required educational background and training in relation to areas of

specialization. Note (Fig. 1) that agronomists who specialize more in crops (upper

part of Fig. 1) and agronomists who specialize more in soils (lower part of Fig. 1)






ENTOMOLOGY
PATHOLOGY
ECONOMICS
ECOLOGY
CROP PRODUCTION
WEED SCIENCE
STATISTICS
MICROBIOLOGY
GENETICS
PLANT PHYSIOLOGY
COMPUTER SCIENCE
PHYSICS
SPEECH
SOCIAL STUDIES
MA THEM TICS
HISTORY
LANGUAGE AGRONI
CHEMISTRY EDUCATION
BIOLOGY AND AGRONOMIST
(CROPS) TRAINING


A


I AGRONOMIST AGRONOMIST AGR


(SOILS) EDUCATION
BIOLOGY AND AGRONOMIST AGf
CHEMISTRY TRAINING
LANGUAGE AGRONOMIST
HISTORY
MA THEM TICS
SOCIAL STUDIES
SPEECH
PHYSICS
COMPUTER SCIENCE
MICROBIOLOGY
STATISTICS
GEOLOGY
SOIL CHEMISTRY
SOIL PHYSICS
SOIL MICROBIOLOGY
SOIL FERTILITY
SOIL GENESIS
SOIL MORPHOLOGY


;ONOM

ST


MULTIPLE CROPPING
HERBICIDE METABOLISM
CORN BREEDING
SOYBEAN BREEDING
SMALL GRAIN BREEDING
CROP ECOLOGY
TOBACCO
LEGUME CROPS
FORAGES
GRAIN CROPS
MOLECULAR GENETICS
PLANT WATER
CROP PHYSIOLOGY
GENETICS
WEED CONTROL
TURF GRASSES
lIST PLANT BREEDING
PLANT NUTRITION
AGRONOMIST CROP MANAGEMENT
SPECIALIZATION (CROPS)


SPECIALIZATION (SOILS)
L


SPECIALIZATION (SOILS)
TIST SOIL MANAGEMENT
SOIL FERTILITY
SOIL GENESIS
SOIL MORPHOLOGY
SOIL CLASSIFICATION
SOIL CHEMISTRY
SOIL PHYSICS
SSOIL MICROBIOLOGY
/ MICRONUTRIENTS
SSOIL TESTING
SOIL MAPPING
WASTE DISPOSAL
SOIL WATER
MINIMUM TILLAGE
SOIL MINERALOGY
FOREST SOILS
TROPICAL SOILS
SOIL ORGANIC MATTER


Figure 1. Education, training and specializations of agronomists.


I


nMnMrT T \









all take the same basic science, social science, and liberal arts courses. The

courses and areas of study are shown on the left side of Fig. 1 and the areas of

specialization are shown on the right side. While this graph is not all-inclusive

it gives some indication of how complicated the profession of agronomy really is.

There are also likely as many general agronomists who have almost equal education,

training, and working responsibility in both the crops and soils areas. The number

of titles which encompass both crops and soils training is almost endless, including

soil/plant water management, multiple cropping/minimum tillage management, soybean

soil and crop management, etc. Almost all agronomists have some education and/or

training in both crops and soils though most will be more specialized in areas such

as soil clay mineralogy, crop physiology, etc. Some agronomists will eventually

have responsibility for only the most basic types of research whereas others will

have broad-based, applied responsibility. Some agronomists have responsibilities in

both basic and applied agronomics. The end product of all agronomic activity,

whether basic or applied, is an ultimate goal of improving man's ability to manage

or produce quality and quantity of fiber, feed, or food for the betterment of

mankind and/or to preserve the quality of or increase the wholesomeness of the

earths land and water resources.


Agronomic Scientists at Land Grant Universities



Department names


Agronomists are located at most of the 56 1862-type land grant colleges and

universities which were visited during the Kellogg Fellowship project. Data in

Table 2 show, among other things, the diverse names of departments in these

institutions in which agronomists are located and/or have responsibilities (USDA











Table 2. Statistics on agronomy in 1862 land-grant colleges of agriculture

Agriculture Faculty
Agronomy-Related --- --------- Percent
Region State Department Name Total 'Agronomy Agronomy


N.E.S Connecticut
Maine
Massachusetts
New Hampshire
Rhode Island
Vermont

A average

M.A.S. New Jersey
New York

Pennsylvania


Average

Alabama
Arkansas
Delaware
Florida


Georgia


Kentucky
Louisiana
Maryland
Mississippi
N. Carolina

S. Carolina
Tennessee
Virginia
W. Virginia


Plant Science-'
Plant & Soil Science
Plant & Soil Science
Plant Science
Plant Science
Plant & Soil Science


Soil & Crop Science
Agronomy
Plant Breeding & Biometry
Agronomy



Agronomy & Soils
Agronomy
Plant Scinece
Agronomy
Soil Science
Agronomy
Agronomy
Agronomy
Agronomy
Agronomy
Agronomy
Agronomy
Crop Science
Soil Science
Agronomy
Plant & Soil Science
Agronomy
Plant & Soil Science


178
288
:231
152
109
179


318
999

506

608

593
415
145
956

885


411
683
335
661
1052

427
532
599
290

570


No.-----
10
17
15
8
3
5

10


- %
5.6
5.9
6.5
5.3
2.8
2.8

4.8


9.9

8.3


8.9
13.5
7.6
11.5

11.0


16.3
7.9
9.0
8.6
11.8

5.1
10.7
8.7
7.9


Average


S.S.


9.6










Table 2. Continued 1
Agriculture Faculty
Agronomy-Related -------------------- Percent
Region State Department Name Total Agronomy Agronomy
I. .' .


Illinois

Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Michigan
Minnesota

Missouri
Nebraska
N. Dakota

Ohio

S. Dakota
Wisconsin


Average


S.W.S. Arizona

New Mexico
Oklahoma
Texas


Agronomy
Plant & Soil Science
Agronomy
Agronomy
Agronomy
Crop & Soil Science
Agronomy & Plant Genetics
Soil Science
Agronomy
Agronomy
Agronomy
Soil Science
Agronomy
Agronomy
Plant Science
Agronomy
Soil Science


Plant Science
Soil & Water Science
Crop & Soil Science
Agronomy
Soil & Crop Science


------- U -------
733 98
11
643 78
607 78
.641 58
.869 42
780 37
50
634 71
583 65
394 43
-30
1062 60
47
322 60
753 25
34


668


409

225
491
1898


Average


R.M.S. Coloraob
Idaho
Montana
Nevada
Utah

Wyoming


Average


California



Oregon

Washington

Average


Agronomy 209
Plant Science & Eng. 240
Plant & Soil Science 241
Plant Science 107
Plant Science 373
Soil Science & Biometeorology
Plant Science 146


219


Plant & Soil Biology 1496
Agronomy & Range Science
Land, Air, & Water Resources
Soil & Environmental Sciences
Crop Science 626
Soil Science
Agronomy & Soils 422

848


M.S.


14.9


12.1
12.9
9.0
4.8
11.2

11.2
11.1
18.5

10.1

18.6
7.8


11.9

14.2

13.3
9.6
9.9

11.8

34.0
19.6
15.4
11.2
12.6

11.0

17.3

9.8



9.1

14.9

11.3


P.C.S.
a










Table 2. Continued 2
Agriculture Faculty
Agronomy-Related ------------------- Percent
Region State Department Name Total Agronomy Agronomy
------------------------------------------------- --------------------N-------
------- No ------- -- % --
Mesic Alaska 102 15 14.7

Tropic Hawaii Agronomy & Soil Science 267 46 17.2

Terr. Amer. Samoa 9
Guam 44 4 9.1
Ponape 5
Puerto Rico Agronomy & Soil Science 309 38 12.3
Virg. Islands 37 1 2.7

Average 81 9 4.8

D.C. Washington D.C. 53

N.E.S = New England States; M.A.S. = Mid Atlantic States; S.S. Southern States;
M.S. = Midwestern States; S.W.S. = Southwestern States; R.M.S. = Rocky Mountain
States; P.C.S. = Pacific Coast States.





















wA









Agricultural Handbook, 1985). In 19 of these states only one cdpartment called

"Agronomy" houses agronomic scientists. Generally only specializations in agronomy

are represented in these departments. Additionally four states or territories have

bdpartments named "Agronomy and Soils", and four states have departments named

either "Soil and Crop Science" or "Crop' and Soil Science". Departments in these

eight states are also mace up of essentially the same group of agronomic scientists

as those states with cdpartments named "Agronomy". Four states have agronomists

located in two separate departments called "Agronomy" and "Soil Science", and two

states have separate bdpartments of "Crop Science" and "Soil Science". Thus, we can

account for departments in 33 states and territories which have either the one-word

name "agronomy", or two or more words describing a single apartment, or separate

departments, all of which appear to house the same types of agronomists, and only

agronomists.

"Plant Science" and "Plant and Soil Science" make up the names of departments

in most of the remaining 1862-type state land grant colleges of agriculture (Table

2). Not only are agronomists housed in departments with these titles, but other

plant specialists such as entomologists, pathologists, nematologists, and/or

horticulturists are also likely to be located in these departments. In states with

"Plant Science" or "Plant and Soil Science" departments it appears that agronomic

field crops and/or agriculture in general play a lesser role. This is in contrast

to those 33 state land grant universities which have a much larger agricultural

base, and where agronomic specialists occupy one or more complete departments in and

of themselves.


Regional significance


Agriculturally and geographically the U.S. and its territories are unique









(Table 2). Agriculture in the U.S. and its territories includes most of the types

of agriculture in the world. Tropical agriculture is represented in U.S.

territories in the Caribbean, the Pacific Islands, the State of Hawaii, and the

southern tip of Florida. Subtropical agriculture is 'found along the southern

borders of the U.S. on both coasts and along the Gulf of Mexico. Temperate

agriculture is found in most of the continental U.S., and mesic agriculture

predominates in Alaska.

Less than 5% of the agricultural faculty at land grant colleges and

universities in the New England states are considered agronomists. Agronomic

agriculture is less significant in this region of the U.S. than in most other

regions. This is also reflected by the names of the departments where agronomy

faculty are housed, such as "Plant Science" or "Plant and Soil Science". Most other

regions have an average of 8 to 17% or more of the faculty who are trained

agronomists. Generally, the higher the percentage of agronomists the higher the

significance of grain or forage crops to the economy of a given region. The Rocky

Mountain states appear to have the highest percentages of agronomists in relation to

total agricultural scientists among all of the regions. This region also tends

however, to have "Plant Science" and other deviations from pure agronomy names for

the departments where agronomists are located. Agronomists with specialization in

the "Range Sciences" tend to be more in demand in this area, in accord with the

large acreages of public-owned lands in this region of the U.S. In some instances,

such as at the University of Nevada, problems in funding have necessitated a

reduction in the overall number of departments. In this case, as in others,

agrono~y became a part of a plant science department.

There are approximately 26,660 agricultural scientists located in 1862-type

land grant institutions of the 56 states and territories. Of this overall number,

2,777 are agronomists, making up about 10.4% of the total. Considering all the









diverse departments and specializations in the agricultural sciences, agronomists

make up a small proportion of the total agricultural scientists nation-wide.



What Are the Opportunities For Agronomy Students?



There were 46 agronomist/agricultural leaders who responded to the question,

"What are the opportunities for students who major in agronomy and or other

agriculture areas today?" (Table 3). In general, the majority indicated there are

more jobs for agronomists than we have graduating students, As one might expect,

more opportunities for agronomy majors were associated.with states where agronomic

agriculture is more important. Undergraduate students are taking jobs in a wide

assortment of areas within the seed, fertilizer, herbicide, etc. industries; in

governmental agencies such as the SCS, Bureau of Land Management; as technical

assistants and with cooperative extension; etc. A large percentage of the students

are going on to graduate school for future jobs in teaching, research, and/or

extension with universities, industry, government, and international programs.

Agronomy students appear to have fewer opportunities in the New England states and

the Rocky Mountain states regions. Agronomy students graduating from the South, Mid

West, and other regions in general often have more than one job opportunity even

during this period of national economic problems for production agriculture.

Respondents (Table 3) indicated that only from 5 to 30% of the undergraduate

students are taking jobs in production agriculture. This seems to correlate well

with the observation, stated earlier, that agronomists make up only about 10% of the

1862-type land grant college of agriculture faculties (Table 2).

A general overview of many of the present and future opportunities for agronomy

graduates is given in Fig. 2. To re-emphasize what one agricultural scientist


_______1__1______1___I~ ____








Table 3. Comments from agricultural scientists and educators concerning opportunities for agronomy and other agricultural
students. '

Source Region/University Quotes On Opportunities for Agronomy/Agricultural Students

New England States


H.M. McNeill



A.V. Barker


S.J.
Kleinschuster


" R.C. Wakefield


R.O. Sinclair


J.R. Justin


R.A. Voitle



R.L. Guthrie


Univ. of Maine



Univ. of Mass


Univ. of New Hampshire


Univ. of Rhode Island


Univ. of Vermont

Mid-Atlantic States


Rutgers Univ.


Southern States

Auburn University



Auburn University


"A few people will always be needed in production agriculture but one of the
greatest needs is for people in agri-business, marketing areas, in
international agricultural programs, export areas, communications, areas that
strive to reduce pesticide use, ground water, and pollution areas."

"The best areas for finding positions are ornamental horticulture,
floriculture, garden center management and turf grass management."

"There are very few people going back to dad's farm because dad's farm is
going into sub-divisions and they have to sell off 10 acres each year to stay
in business."

"There are a wide range of opportunities in all sectors of agri-business,
government, and state services."

"There aren't a lot of opportunities in production agriculture."


"Very few students go back into production. They go on to'graduate school,
take jobs in the seed, fertilizer, and pesticide industry, or work on golf
courses, in sod production, and turf-related business."


"I would encourage anybody who is considering a career to give agriculture
serious consideration because the production side of agriculture is only a
very small portion of what we are involved with. Less than 10% of our
graduates go into production agriculture."

"Most of our students are employed by industry chemical companies, the
cooperative extension service, or government agency such as SCS although
SCS is not hiring graduates like they were a few years ago."





Table 3. Continued 1
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Source Regitn/University Quotes On Opportunities for Agronomy/Agricultural Students
Southern States----------------------------------------
Southern States


F.P. Miller


W.L. Colville


P.E. Schilling


J.P. Jones



D.A. Hegwood

C.E. Lindley





A.D. Worsham


O.G. Hall


Univ. of Arkansas


Univ. of Georgia


Louisana State Univ.


Louisana State Univ.



Univ. of Maryland

Mississippi State Univ.





North Carolina State Univ.


Univ. of Tennessee


"A large number of our graduates go back to farming; or serve as farm
managers, industry technical representatives, or in sales; and about 20% go
on to graduate school."

"A good student in agronomy has no problem getting a job. Some of our BS
students are getting positions in industry ranging from $15,000 to $30,000
per year."


"About 15% of our students are returning to production agriculture.
students are taking positions with chemical companies and related
agri-business."


Other


"Our undergraduates are taking positions with regulatory and state agencies,
grain grading services, agricultural extension, seed companies, chemical
companies, private or other consulting firms, or going on to graduate school
for jobs in research, teaching, or extension."

"Less than 10% of our students are going to work in production agriculture."

"Opportunities for agricultural graduates depend to a great extent on the
individual student. Without a doubt production agriculture is in a tough
way right now, but there are still opportunities. A few years ago about 24%
of our students returned to production jobs; today that has dropped to about
15%. Agri-business absorbs about 35% of our graduates; others go to work for
government agencies, or go on to graduate school."

"Most of our students are employed in farming operations, agri-business jobs or
they go on to graduate school. These few American farmers who feed millions of
people need a large back-up of agronomic expertise to sustain production needs."

"Food, feed, and fiber are not going out of style and our food, feed, and
fiber production systems are getting more sophisticated and more complicated,
which means that the demand for people trained in the so-called high
technology areas is becoming more crucial and it's a challenge to educate
people to that fact. One out of four of our graduates goes on to graduate
school, 33 to 35% work for agri-business firms, 15% will work for extension
and education areas, and 10 to 15% take positions with governmental agencies."







Table 3. Continued 2
----------------------..........----------------- --------......................----------.. .----.---.------------
Source Region/University Quotes On Opportunities for Agronomy/Agricultural Students

Southern States


Carl Brandt


G.E. Ham


Virginia Polytechnic Inst.


Virginia Polytechnic Inst.


Mid-Western States


Purdue Univ.


Kansas State Univ.


Kansas State Univ.


G.W. Hawkins


D.R. Ford


Univ. of Minnesota


"Approximately 10% of our graduates
of jobs, 45% go into agri-business,
government work. Starting salaries
to $27,500."


are going into production-management types
5% go into education, and 5% go into
for undergraduates range from $13,000


H.W. Johnson


Univ. of Minnesota


"Our PhD graduates usually have a job 6 months to a year before they graduate.
My age group are beginning to retire and the big expansion in agriculture
including agronomy took place following World War II and many of us veterans are
going to retire. This is a major replacement problem."


"Our students take jobs in the traditional areas of farming, chemical
industries, seed companies, and environmental agencies."

"We're just not attracting the number of agronomy students that we should be
at the undergraduate level in our program. There are requests for agronomists
out there that we just can't fill."



"I have-no problem with those students with undergraduate degrees from chemistry
or biology who want to explore graduate work in the school of agriculture."

"There is no shortage of positions; it is just a matter of selecting which
position an agronomy graduate would like to take as his/her first position."

"There are three major reasons for there being more jobs than students in the
college of agriculture. First we are experiencing declining enrollments,
secondly expansion of agricultural opportunities into new fields of
communication, pollution, biotechnology, etc. and third is retirements of as
much as 25% of agricultural professionals which leaves more room at the top for
people to move up from the entry and middle management levels. Nationwide we
expect to have 25% of all teaching, research, and extension faculty in land grant
universities retire in the next four years."


Mark Hill


D.J. Mugler








Table 3. Continued 3
--------------------------------- ---- -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Source Region/University Quotes On Opportunities for Agronomy/Agricultural Students
Mid-Western States
Mid-Western States


A.D. Day


M.H. Niehaus


Univ. of Missouri



Univ. of Nebraska





North Dakota State Univ.


South Dakota State Univ.


Univ. of Wisconsin


South-Western States


Univ. of Arizona


New Mexico State Univ.


B.G. Volk



E.F. Ellington





J.D. Nalewaja


M.L. Horton


G.W. Sledge


"We are having a slight decrease in numbers of students enrolled in agronomy.
We see more females and urban background students and are orienting our courses
accordingly."

"About 24% of our students return to the farm, 30 to 32% are going into agri-
business, 15 to 18% go on to graduate school, and 5 to 8% go into educational
programs. Starting salaries range from $10,000 to $30,000 per year for our
undergraduates. Students with an agriculture background have an advantage in
production-oriented jobs while an agricultural background is not necessary for
other job opportunities."

"A high number of students return to the farm; others work for agri-business,
the grain elevators, as scouts, and as consultants.'"

"Close to 25% of our undergraduates go back to the farm. I would say that
about 20% of our farmers have college educations and the number is increasing."

"About 25 to 35% of our students go on to graduate shchol, others go into
the agri-business industry, government agencies, vocational agricultural
teaching, extension service, 6 to 7% go back to the farm, and others change
to majors in law, medicine, biochemistry, etc."



"Out of 25 students graduating in plant sciences there are 6 to 8 who have
not found jobs. Up until 2 years ago we were placing all our students."

"There are still some jobs a farm background is nearly required. Very few
of our graduates go back to the farm or ranch; its rare when that occurs."








Table 3. Continued 4 *
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Source Region/University Quotes On Opportunities for Agronomy/Agricultural Students
South-Western States
South-Western States


Oklahoma State Univ.


P.W. Santelmann, Oklahoma State Univ.


J.R. Fenwick


W.F. Keim



A.L., Branen


H.G. Smith


A.R. Southard


L.I. Painter


Rocky-Mountain States

Colorado State Univ.


Colorado State Univ.



Univ. of Idaho


Univ. of Nevada


Utah State Univ.


Univ. of Wyoming


P.H. Hummer


"With all this bio-technology and everything else just exploding right now,
there's just a wealth of opportunities particularilly if they plan to go
on to graduate school."

"A quarter of our agronomy students go on to graduate school and another
quarter find jobs with private industry, and some others become consultants."



"There are many opportunities for our agronomy students in the areas of
the seed industry, agricultural chemical industry, and as consultants."

"Our graduates are in high demand in jobs of teaching, research, extension,
and international programs. There are hundreds of commercial organizations
with their own research organizations and quite a sizable number of our people
are going to work with these commercial companies."

"We have an increasing number of our graduates going on to graduate school.
We are placing about 20% of our graduates into production agriculture."

"Many of our agronomy graduates become farm managers or go to work for chemical
companies."

"In general we have enough students to meet the job needs. Utah is 70%
public owned, which means that agricultural demands in this state are
relatively limited. Currently we are placing our students ok but the civil
service, who is always a large employer of soils graduates with their man-hour
ceilings impinges on that right now."

"We hear that there are more jobs available than there are students we are
graduating. Normally we place most of our students, but I woulch't say that
we have an over-production of students at all."







Table 3. Continued 5

Source RegioA/University Quotes On Opportunities for Agronomy/Agricultural Students
Pacific Coastal States
Pacific Coastal States


C.E. Hess


D.W. Raines


K.K. Tanji




SJ.R. Davis

Bonnie Johnson


Univ. of California


Univ. of California



Univ. of California




Oregon State Univ.

Washington State Univ.


"The enrollments in colleges of agriculture nationally have dropped about 20%
from the period 1978 to 1982 and at Davis about 7% in that same time period."

"You'll find students placed in areas such as field managers, consultants
working for banks and land assaying firms, sales representatives for
agricultural industries, seed, and chemical companies."

"Our graduates are well-trained individuals and they find jobs in the
governmental areas such as regulatory agencies like regional water control
boards, EPA as well as jobs as consultants. It's not unusual for our MS
students to have starting salaries ranging from $30,000 to $35,000 and
Ph.D.s ranging from $35,000 to $40,000."

"There aren't very many going back to the farm anymore".!


"Only about 5% of our students are employed in production agriculture.
are employed in the business end of agriculture."


Most


Mesic


F.J. Wooding


Univ. of Alaska


"Most of our students take jobs with bureau credit agencies. Some take jobs
with SCS, Bureau of Indian Affairs, State Division of Lands, Bureau of Land
Management, and a few go into farming, especially near the Grand Junction area
of Alaska."


Tropical


Sylvia Yuen



A. Ayala


Univ. of Hawaii



Univ. of Puerto Rico


"I think whether its in what is considered to be the more traditional areas
of agriculture or in a new area, its the student who has the entrepreneur (one
who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of an undertaking) spirit who will
do much better than the student who is looking for a traditional notch."

"Our undergraduates either go back to farming, work for the government,
or we send them to the States for advanced degrees. These MS and Ph.D.
graduates return and find jobs in teaching, research, or extension."


----------------------------------------------------------------- -------------------









WATER INDUSTRIAL
QUALITY SALES & SERVICE


HAZARDOUS WASTE
DISPOSAL

SOLID WASTE
DISPOSAL



USDA RESEARCH


TECHNICAL
ASSISTANTS


FARM MANAGERS
AND LAND MANAGEMENT


OPPORTUNITIES


ACADEMIC/UNIVERSITY
RESEARCH, TEACHING --
EXTENSION


INDUSTRY
RESEARCH


AGRONOMIST AGRONOMIST


AGRONOMIST AGRONOMIST AGRONOMIST


AGRONOMIST AGRONOMIST


OPPORTUNITIES


INTERNATIONAL
RESEARCH, TEACHING
CONSULTING


OFFICE


REVIEW
COMI TTEES


GOVERNMENT AGENCIES
SAID, SCS, ASCS,
EPA, ETC.


ADMINISTRATIVE
LEADERSHIP


OTHER MAJORS
IN ADVANCED
DEGREES


VENDING MACHINE
OPERATORS


Figure 2. Opportunities for agronomy graduates from land grant colleges and universities.


FARM PRODUCTION
AND OWNERSHIP


--PEACE CORPS








observed (Mugler, Table 3), opportunities for agricultural graduates fall into three

main categories; the opening up of new fields of agriculture, there remaining more

jobs available than there are qualified graduates, and the retirement of as many as

25% of the present agricultural scientists by the year 1990. If 25% of the

existing faculty in the 1862-type land grant colleges of agriculture were to retire

within -the next 4 years, that would mean the opening up of almost 7,000 (26,662

total agricultural workers, Table 2) jobs, primarily at the Ph.D. level. Of this

number, there would be a need for about 700 Ph.D.s in agronomy to replace those who

are retiring. Agronomists should take the initiative to begin communicating with

their peers and with students concerning the opportunities not only for teaching,

research, and extension jobs, but also with respect to vacant positions of

leadership. This large drain of agricultural expertise will provide opportunity for

upward mobility as section leaders, department chairs, deans, directors, and vice

presidents retire. The continued significance of agronomy, and the future funding

of agronomic programs, could well depend upon who fills these positions of

leadership in agricultural science and education during the years to come.

If 25% of the agricultural scientists are on the verge of retiring from

agricultural colleges, then there is likely a similar situation in industry and for

governmental agencies. American agriculture got its big boost just after World War

II. Not only did agricultural colleges increase in size and significance, but

agribusiness increased as well. This increase correlated with agricultural

scientific discovery.


Do You Have a Shortage of Agronomy/Agricultural Students?


Nationally, it appears that there is an approximately 13% shortfall in the

numbers of students enrolled in agricultural majors as compared to projected needs








for the nation. Comments from scientists interviewed tended to confirm this

shortage at their universities and/or in their regions (Table 4). The earlier trend

at most institutions was for increased enrollment in colleges of agriculture, which

peaked in the mid-1970's followed by a downward drift until either 1984 or the

present. Although a few institutions appear to still be experiencing this downward

drift, many appear to have now leveled off.

Some of the reasons cited for reduced enrollment in traditional

production-oriented departments seem to be associated with the plight of the

American farmer. Inherent in this conclusion is the assumption that all jobs for

agricultural/agronomy majors are in production agriculture. We observed earlier

that, depending on the university, production jobs make up only about 15% of those

available and, in general, more jobs exist than there are available graduating

students (Table 3.). One exception to enrollment vs. opportunity trends was found

for some of the Rocky Mountain states (Table 4). In some instances there appeared

to be too many students being trained for traditional jobs with governmental

agencies such as the Bureau of Land Management, the Soil Conservation Service, and

state game and fish departments. Federal government policies on cutbacks in many of

these agencies were initiated in the early days of the present administration,

resulting in a freeze in hiring in many of these traditional fields. Agronomists who

specialize in the range sciences and in certain areas of soil classification and

mapping with the SCS would be affected by such policies of the federal government.

It appears that this problem might easily be corrected by switching specializations

in agriculture or agronomy to areas where more jobs are available.

Qpe of the most worrisome problems for college of agriculture administrators is

the fact that instructional funding is often tied to enrollment numbers. In many

institutions, instructors are lost due to reduced enrollments. In some instances

courses must be dropped because an insufficient number of students are enrolled for







Table 4. Comments from agricultural scientists and educators concerning a shortage of agricultural students.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Source Region/University Quotes On Shortage of Agricultural Students
New Eland States----------------------------------
New England States


F.P. Eggert


D.M. Rogers


Univ. of Maine


Univ. of New Hampshire


"The number of students is definitely on the down trend. Whether or not this
can be reversed I don't know; we will try to make an effort to do that but how
the population will respond remains to be seen. People do like to eat!"

"We're experiencing a downward drift in enrollment. Our student background is
changing. We used to get the majority of our students from farm backgrounds
and they were the sons and daughters of people whose sole occupation was
farming. Now we are getting fewer and fewer from the farm and more and more
from urban areas. More and more or our students in New Hampshire are from out
of state."


Mid-Atlantic States


Rutgers Univ.


"I think
when the
a lot of


Southern States

Auburn University






Univ. of Delaware


that student enrollment will probably hold steady for a while and
economy turns around the demand for students will pick up. We have
people to feed."


"We have a tremendous shortage of individuals whth agricultural expertise. A
national survey indicated there was about a 13% shortfall in agricultural
expertise and this varied among areas of responsibility. The more
sophisticated and more highly paying areas were the ones in the shortest supply.
In addition, we are facing a situation where a tremendous number of our faculty
are approaching or have approached retirement age; this creates a real gap at the
same time as student shortages and makes recruitment of faculty very difficult."

"The enrollment in the college of agriculture has been declining since the late
1970's. We've had a steady decline in enrollment and have leveled out right
now at about 500 students; at least the rate of decline has decreased."


i J.R. Justin


R.A. Voitle






R.E. Fowler






Table 4. Continued 1
------------------1....................................................................................................
Source Region/University Quotes On Shortage of Agricultural Students

Southern States


Univ. of Delaware


C.E. Lindley Mississippi State Univ.


"We need to work with our minorities. It seems to be even more difficult to
attract minorities into agriculture than others. Over the years it was rather
traditional when you went out to visit the high school you talked to the
guidance counselor and the agricultural teacher, but you probably didn't stop
by to see the biology, chemistry, or physics teacher."

"Most of us reached the peak in undergraduate enrollment in 1976 or 1977 and
have been decreasing some with slight modifications every year since that time.
I think we are still declining to some extent. At our peak we had about 1700
students in the college of agriculture and home economics. Today we have about
1300, so we have had the same decline that has occurred nationally."
i


SA.D. Worsham North Carolina State Univ.
to


"Our trend here the last couple of
who major in agriculture, which is
alarming, but we will need highly i
the people who are producing food i


years is slightly downward for students
a nation wide trend. I don't think this is
trained scientists and agriculturists to help
in the future."


D.R. Ford


J.R.
Gillespie


Virginia Polytechnic Inst.


Mid-Western States

Michigan State Univ.


J.D. Nalewaja North Dakota State Univ.


"I think the economy will help turn things around; I hope it helps the
enrollment situation. There is hardly a day that passes that a major newspaper
doesn't carry some story about the doom and gloom of production agriculture.
We have to counter that all the time as we are visiting mothers and fathers who
are asking questions about what my son or daughter will do with a major in
agriculture. It is nice to be an educated person but the question comes back,
"Thats fine, but where's the job." Someone coined the term, "Where's the
beef"-well "where's the job?"



"Agriculture is a big turnoff to minorities in this state and I think other
states face the same thing. Their heritage tells them that agriculture was
not profitable for their ancestors."

"There was an increase in student enrollment a few years ago but, in the
last few years, we have had a slight decrease. However, there has been no
major fluctuation in enrollment for us."


R.P. Barwick






Table 4. Continued 2

Source Region/lniversity Quotes On Shortage of Agricultural Students

South-Western States
South-Western States


Univ. of Arizona


New Mexico State Univ.


M.H. Niehous New Mexico State Univ.


P.H. Hummer




P.W.
Santelmann


Oklahoma State Univ.




Oklahoma State Univ.


A.D. Day


L.A. Holland


"In Plant Science up until about 2 years ago we were placing all of our
students but for the last 2 years there have been students who have not been
able to find satisfactory jobs."

"I think that we actually have too many students in certain majors; for
example, those majors that produce students that go into state and federal
agencies like the Bureau of Land Management, Soil Conservation Service, and
State Game and Fish Departments. Those agencies have had a freeze on hiring
and I think we probably have more students in the Fisheries and Wild Life
pipeline, and in the Range Science pipeline, than can be placed in the
immediate future. I'm not so concerned as to whether or not we will presently
have enough students in certain disciplines to meet the need. If we don't,
I think we can gear up and produce them. The concerniI have as an
administrator is with the staffing of departments. I pointed out to you
earlier that we've been in a retrenchment mode in our college; we have given
back to the central administration eight nine-month teaching positions in the
last 3 years. We have had to do that because of a decline in undergraduate
enrollment. The reason we haven't had to turn back more than eight is that
we have had an increase in graduate student enrollment from about 150 in 1976
to about 300 now."

"I don't think we are training enough people at the Ph.D. level for jobs in
soil-water-engineering areas to deal with water pollution. I've read
that we are going to have a semi-crisis in this area. However, as the
word gets out those things tend to correct themselves,'but it takes time."

"We have been facing a dropping enrollment here in our college for the last 3
or 4 years. This past year was the first that we've had the same number
of incoming students that we had the previous year. We've been visiting high
schools to get the word out. We've also developed video tapes and this type
of thing."

"We experienced a slight increase in agronomy students a few years ago and a
slight decrease in the past couple of years. It hasn't shown any significant
decrease as of yet."









Table 4. Continued 3 ,
--T-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------L-------------------------
S6urce Region/University Quotes On Shortage of Agricultural Students
Rocky-Mountain States
Rocky-Mountain States


R.D. Heil


C.E. Hess







K.K. Tanji


Colorado State Univ.


Pacific Coastal States

Univ. of California







Univ. of California


"There is possibly going to be a shortage of trained people in agriculture.
This may already be a problem and will become even more aggravated in the
future unless we can somehow encourage more students to enroll in agriculture."



"About 60% of our undergraduate student body is made up of women so, in terms
of affirmative action and opportunities for women in agriculture, I think that
is moving along quite well. We continue to have problems in terms of getting
representation of minorities both in the student body.and in our faculty. The
college of agriculture is associated with hard work, migrant conditions, and
so forth; therefore we have programs ranging from junior high school up
through college to bring students to campus and give them exposure to a wide
range of opportunities that exist in our college."

"In terms of graduate programs in water quality, waste management, and
pollution we are in tremendous competition from other universities and
industry. This is due in part to the very high out-of-state tuition here
in California."


- :-- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ----- ---- ----- ---- ---- ---- ---- ----- ---- ----- ----









the course to be offered. If the situation were to become too severe, agronomy as a

major might have to be dropped and a degree offered only in plant science.


How Well Do We Communicate Our Importance to the'Public?


Do we want agronomy to survive? As a discipline, is agronomy important to the

future of mankind? Is the land grant college of agriculture system important to the

welfare of the U.S. and the world? The obvious answer by all agronomists and most

agricultural scientists is Yes, yes, yes! Are we in the colleges of agriculture

understood, well thought of, and appreciated by society -for what we have done, are

doing, and can do? Is the farm population of rural America capable of providing the

land grant college of agriculture with all of the support which it needs? The

obvious answer to these questions is no, no! The farm population makes up only

about 2.5% of the U.S. population, with the rural population decreasing in numbers

each year. Farmers and rural America simply no longer have the political power to

constitute the only voice supporting land grant colleges of agriculture.

Eleven of those interviewed commented on the question "How well do we

communicate our importance to the U.S. public" (Table 5). All agreed that we do not
do a good job in this area. Some say that we communicate well with each other on

how important we are, but not to the public. We should not have to brag to each

other, to the public, or to politicians concerning how good we are if we are doing

an adequate job of bragging about what our colleagues and employees are doing.

There is an ancient principle here that is worth noting, "Let another praise you,

and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips" (Pr. 27:2). This

principle is inherent in the statement by Duval (Table 5). He indicates that, if we

are doing our jobs well, we will know the leadership "at every crossroads and street

corner" in our respective states. He says that if we are doing the right kind of







Table 5. Comments from agricultural scientists and educators concerning our communication of the land grant system to the
public. 9

Source Region/University Quote on Communication of Our Importance to the Public

New England States


A.H. Rideout









t A.M. Smith
0o\


Univ. of Connecticut









Univ. of Vermont


"It's ironic; I think several motion pictures this year drew attention to the plight
of the farmer and the importance of agriculture to our country. It's a fact that we
all have a part or a stake in agriculture because, if we eat, we are really in
agriculture and sometimes we forget this. I don't think it's improper to ask any
agency of the federal or state government to be accountable for itself and that's in
fact what our extension reports do. The major change has been to change from writing
narrative reports of efforts or intentions to writing accountable reports that dwell
on impact. This probably is the most substantial change that has taken place in recent
years. I think this does a great deal to tell the story of agriculture and what
our impact is to decision makers."

"I think it's a job for each and every one, of us to tell .the. story of agricultural
research. You go into the public and say I am from the agricultural experiment
station, and people look at you like they expect a train to pull up or something
like that. They don't know what the agricultural experiment station is and we have
to tell that it is a philosophy; that we are concerned with people problems; that
the Northeast region of the US is different from other regions, etc. I hope that you
will see that we are all telling the story of the importance of agriculture and the
need for on-going research."


Southern States


P.E. LaFerney Univ. of Arkansas


"We consider agriculture much broader than what the-average citizen thinks of it and
there-in lies one of our public relations problems. Our public image is one of the
things that I would say is a catch-all kind of thing that is a concern to me and that
we need to address generally; not just here in Arkansas but all across the country.
I think that a national agricultural trade monetary food policy ranks as one of the
biggest needs that the country faces right now for the survival of US agriculture,
the total economy and the future of our society itself. I think it would help this
public image tremendously if we could somehow bring ourselves more into one family.
I think it's pretty good here in Arkansas but both here in this state and around the
the country we have a ways to go yet in terms of really blending extension and
research together to where it's much more efficient than what we know it to be
today in terms of delivery of technology and information."







Table 5. Continued 1
------------!---------------------------------------------------------------------- ------------------------------
Source Region/University Quote on Communication of Our Importance to the Public
southern States----------------------------------------
Southern States


T.L. Frazier Univ. of Georgia


K.W. Tipton


J.E. Legates


Louisana State Univ.


North Carolina State
Univ.


"We may have a communication problem, getting finances for agriculture, if we
don't communicate with the public. As there are fewer and fewer farmers and rural
people, we are going to lose the position we have had in the past. I think we
have got to communicate with the other sectors and get our message across, and we
will have to continue to do that."

"I've said on occasion that the land grant system is a system that the people take
for granted now-days. I find that so many of our particularly young scientists
really don't have on appreciation for what formula funding is and what it does."

"We have a legislator's dinner around Agricultural Awareness Day and members of
the legislator can talk directly to a professor who is doing the work. It's much
more effective than when an administrator gives it to them.second-hand. Most of our
faculty have done a good job of this kind of communication and the faculty need to
know that state and federal dollars have to be justified just as grants from NSF or
NIH. The chairman of our Senate Agricultural Committee is also on the Education
Appropriations Committee and chose not to run this year. He is over 70 years old
and we're wondering where we are going to find a person who can speak up for us and
who has the balance to know how we in the agricultural college fit in. We have had
our leadership development symposium totry to develop more spokesmanship among our
own agricultural leaders, to aid in communication. However, in some cases I find
that our urban people, once they get committed to agriculture, are sometimes stronger
supporters than our other groups. They don't have inhibitions and they think in terms
of a broader, more advanced program and their ideas are a little larger than those of
some of our folks who have had the agricultural background. Because we've been
squeezed so long we've gotten along with so little and so, when we ask for what is
really needed, many of our farmers think that its too much. In this age of new
technology, new equipment, etc. the research is just extremely costly due to the kind
of things that we need to do."









Table 5. Continued 2 ,

Source Region/University Quote on Canmunication of Our Inportance to the Public
Southern States


Clemson Univ.


Mid-Western States

Univ. of Illinois


Rocky-Mountain States

Colorado State Univ.


S.R. Chapman


"No, we are not adequately telling the story of the land-grant institution! We're
good and we're important and we have tremendous career opportunities. I don't believe
that, I know it! There are no questions in my mind; the industry for which I work is
a solid-growing, absolutely vital industry. Now, if we had done the job that we should
do, I woulch't sit here and look you in the face and say that the only problem is that
our enrollment is down 25% and I wonder what is wrong with people with the opportunities
we have to offer. Now, of course, one of the big ones, we all talk about it but we
talk to ourselves, we don't go talk to the right people. Too many people look at
agriculture as being poverty-level work and not as a career-oriented profession."


"This Farm Aid Concert has been an eye-opening experience perhaps to many of us in
the agricultural institutions. The American people are very concerned about
agriculture; they are aware of their agricultural heritage and are willing to make
sacrifices to make sure that agriculture remains strong and viable and they
appreciate the contribution that farmers have made to their lifestyle and well-
being."


"There is a good probability that we are not the best communicators in the world.
I'm convinced that there are a lot of people working on this. I'm serving now as
president of the Crop Science Society of America and working to try to improve this
aspect of communication with the lay public."


OD.A. Holt


W.F. Keim










Table 5. Continued 3 ,

Source Region/University Quote on Communication of Our Importance to the Public
Tropical
Tropical


Univ. of Hawaii






Univ. of Puerto Rico


"We have been spoiled so long, with relatively low food prices in proportion to our
income going to food, that we just take that for granted and that can obviously
shift as drastically as energy prices shifted back in the early 1970'S. I have no
problems what-so-ever in terms of competitive grants when we're talking about basic
research. When we're talking about applied problems then it's a different story.
I think we do need some form of appropriated or formula money, both at the state and
federal level."

"We are hopeful that our advisory committee, made up of farmers and agricultural
business people, will help us communicate our needs in the agricultural college."


C. Ching






A. Ayala


----------~------------------------------ - - - - - - - ---------------------------







communication with the public, we will continue to have a good future.

The primary funding sources for public agencies such as the land grant colleges
of agriculture is from the state and federal governments. Agronomists must

communicate to the public through every means which modern technology affords. If

communication does not break down, our importance will be appreciated by the

politicians who are ultimately making the decisions on who gets funded and how

heavily. If agronomists had communicated properly, the 'users of agronomic

information would also be bragging about us to such decision makers, which would

tremendously aid the funding of agronomic programs. Smith, (Table 2) states that

"it's a job for each and every one of us to tell the story of agriculture." Legates

(Table 2) indicated that "utilizing faculty who are doing the work is often much

more effective in communication with politicians than to hear from administrators

second hand." Holt (Table 5) believes that the American public will be sympathetic

toward people in agriculture, if we do our job of communication well.

There are many ways for mankind to communicate. People communicate verbally,

both by what is said and by what is not said. Body language (the first form of

remote sensing) is another form of communication. We communicate by written word,

by radio, photographs, slides, movies, and television. Agronomists and

agricultural scientists in general have traditionally led the way in the use of good

visual aids for communicating in teaching, research, and extension work. This has

worked well for communicating among ourselves and with friends or direct users of

agronomic information. Communication technology is rapidly expanding, however, each

of man's senses may now be involved in the communication process. In today's modern

U.S., yith an average of two television sets and one computer in every home, many of

the traditional oral speeches without visual aids, and much of the information,

will simply not reach and hold the attention of the masses. Video programming is

one of the latest modes of communication that could be used as a vital tool by








agronomists/agricultural scientists for projecting information to the public. The

typical agronomist has learned to rely on the microcomputer in just the past five

years. If video cameras and editing equipment were made available to agronomists,

they would soon conquer this mode of communication as well. They have generally

conquered the art of slide making. ond bf oral presentation; therefore, the next

logical step will be the use of educational video tapes. This mode of communication

not only touches many of the audience's senses, but good programming also involves

the audience directly on the screen, thereby further making the viewers feel that

they are a part of the message being delivered.



What Are Some Problems Facing Future Agronomists?


Environmental quality


When agronomists and other agricultural leaders were asked what is the greatest
problem facing American agriculture today, it was generally agreed that keeping our

farmers in business was number one, followed closely by some of our tremendous

problems with water quality and waste disposal. Traveling across the U.S. and its

territories, we heard the quality-of-our-environment message ring out loud and

clear. We have water quality and environmental concerns throughout this country

(Table 6). From New England horticultural fields to the citrus groves of Florida,

ground water pollution from agricultural pesticides is on the minds of the public.

Water quality for fish farming in the South is a major concern, with much research

funding being needed to solve this problem. Agriculture is thought to be a major

contributing factor to the pollution of the Great Lakes, of the Chesapeake Bay, and

of other lakes, streams, and rivers in our country. Competition for water between

agriculture and nonagricultural users is becoming more intense in the coastal states







Table 6. Comments from agricultural scientists and educators concerning problems facing agronomists in the future.
--------------I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Source Region/University Quotes On Problems For Future Agronomists

New England States


M.W.
Anderson


R.C.
Wakefield


Univ. of Maine


Univ. of Rhode Island


"We had the same problem in our potato-growing area that they had in Long Island with
groundwater pollution from Temik. This is one of the major insecticides used in
potato production. The experiment stations were the institutions that taught farmers
how to farm with agricultural chemicals. We are the ones that did most of the work
historically and we are the ones that gave extension the information to take to the
farmers. I think that now we have to be more aware and start helping people deal
with problems caused by these chemicals. We have tremendous industry support in
this state, because of our spruce forest, for development of biological control of
spruce budworm. Two chemical companies have supported research on BT, which is a
biological insecticide for control of the budworm pest. In this case it has been a
commercial opportunity that has provided a non-chemical alternative to insect control,
and so I think that this type of cooperative approach is one 'that is going to be
successful as it has been historically."

"In this state we are very aware of pollution. At the present time we are having a
Temik scare but the results so far have shown that the pollution is not that serious
in the ground water. We are hoping to broaden our studies in the future to include
the effects of agricultural runoff of pesticides, industrial pollution and so forth on
the pollution of Chesapeake Bay. Waste disposal in landfills is like the budget
deficit; it's there and we don't know fully yet what the impact is going to be. We
have large landfills and there's a guess that groundwater may be affected either now
or in the future. We are shifting hopefully to incineration but, in the meantime,
landfills are not going to go away. They are 'going to be there for many years and
maybe generations. Acid rain is a very touchy subject in this state at the present
time. There are legislative efforts to get something going on acid rain. I think a
lot of us are not convinced that it is as serious as we are made to believe. We just
don't know. I don't think anybody knows at the present time the seriousness of the
landfill problem or of this acid-rain thing. I hate to see us rush ahead and throw
money at it until we find out."








Table 6. Continued 1 *

Source Region/University Quotes On Problems For Future Agronomists

Mid-Adlantic States


N.R. Scott


R.A. Voitle


Cornell Univ.


Southern States

Auburn University


R.L. Guthrie Auburn University


"Hopefully, in the area of ground water quality, a very similar initiative to the
bio-technology issue is underway. You may see this arise within a year, with a
special competitive grants program or a special program within the Hatch process.
Bio-technology was the first such initiative and I think you are going to see this
approach utilized for our highest priorities that we ibdntify in the future."


"I think the thing that needs to be realized when we talk about the need for
agricultural expertise is the fact that the type of backgournd that these students
require is the same background that is necessary to go into medicine or
engineering. The science background in general is tremendously not only helpful
but essential to the success of these candidates. The efforts in reducing some of
our major problems with cultivation in agriculture (compaction, pollution, these
types of things) are being addressed right now. The solutions that are being proposed
are space age in nature and this lays out some fantastically exciting careers for
young people in agriculture."

"We are just beginning a cooperative project looking at nutrients in runoff from
conventional and no-tillage. We are, studying herbicide runoff and we are
contemplating a study associated with ground water or rather downward movement
of pesticides in the soil beyond the root zone. This is another cooperative project
with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management which is the state water-
quality authority. We will look at pesticide rinse aids and their disposal, so we
are beginning and we've got two or three projects in our department related to this
activity."






Table 6. Continued 2
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Source Region/U& versity Quotes On Problems For Future Agronomists
------Southern States
Southern States


E.B. Browne








R.H. Brown
















T.C. Duvall


Univ. of Georgia








Univ. of Georgia
















Univ. of Georgia


"Two or three years ago the Georgia legislature did pass an act to make it necessary
for farmers to report the amount of water they used in irrigation. The individual
grower is supposed to report his use of water to the county agent, who in turn
collects the information and transmits it to the unit of government in Atlanta
called the Department of Human Resources. They compile the information and keep
records on water use. Of course one of the things that we are doing in research is
monitoring constantly the water levels in the areas where our research is being done,
both from the stand point of the level of water and any possible pollution from the
use of pesticide materials, fertilizers, etc. on these sandy soils."

"Over-specialization is a problem and I don't think there is a single solution to
the problem. Some people need to be very specialized; even -some people who work
with agronomic crops in agronomy departments. I think we still need some people who
are field agronomists and I don't think we ought to make a different distinction
between the two groups of scientists and have the bright ones going into one area
and the less competent ones into another area. I don't think either group is more
important than the other. The applied or field agronomist needs the same basic
training as any agronomist in order to identify and solve problems. In the area of
plant or crop physiology it will be much different in the future than it has been in
the past. Today's new technology that is being learned in the area of molecular
biology and genetics will certainly be useful to the physiologists. We have a real
problem right now trying to determine how to prepare crop physiologists-agronomists for
the future and with how do we, as an agronomy department, get involved with the new
technology. How do we use this new bio-technology? Do we work in this area ourselves
or do we hire people who are trained in those areas? Do we set up. joint projects or
appointments even between agronomists and people in the botany or bio-chemistry
departments who have the expertise? You will probably see some or all of this, but we
are certainly going in that direction."

"Any public-service agency that can incorporate the user in the funding process is
going to be well-funded. The extension service is the best model that I know of
outside the elementary and secondary school system to do that. Any effective
extension organization is going to really know the leadership in the state at every
crossroad and street corner. If we can have that kind of visibility and kind of
intensive involvement of the user, we've got a good future in terms of funding and
service to society."








Table 6. Continued 3

Source Region/University Quotes On Problems For Future Agronomists
Southern States
Southern States


Univ. of Tennessee


Mid-Western States


J.T. Pesek Iowa State Univ.


W.L. Parks


"Well, actually we are serving the people of the world, in fact, you might say that
we are being penalized for doing a good job in the past. We have been able to
produce enough food for the people and at a cheap cost to them. Therfore, we have
done a pretty good job. What bothers me is that we see more and more of our farmers
going broke because the cost has gotten so high and their incomes are decreasing.
Unless we can turn this thing around we may end up with some kind of shortage
someday somewhere. Some agronomy problems for the future will be in the areas of
genetic advancement, production efficiency, plant growth regulators, economically
efficient yield curves, water pollution, erosion control, and no-tillage. We can't
afford to go ahead and lose soils as we have in the past; we've got to keep those
soils as long as possible and maintain production for future generations."


"I think the underground water quality problem is essentially the next "buzz
word" that will come along. If there will be a substantial amount of research
going into the program, we will have spin off into other areas. We are fortunate
here at Purdue that we do have the National Soil Erosion Laboratory. They are doing
a substantial amount of work, looking at all aspects of erosion, what they can do to
decrease it, etc. and I think there will be more effort in this area in the future."

"The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) has just recently issued
a report from a major task force on water quality and we are planning a workshop by
the Soil Science Society of America at our annual meetings in New Orleans to study
how agriculture impacts ground water quality. Water quality is in the national
limelight right now. Whether we will get large national funding is yet to be seen,
but EPA and the National Science Foundation are well aware of the problem."


M. W.
SPhillips


Purdue Univ.








Table 6. Continued 4 ,

Sdirce Region/University Quotes On Problems For Future Agronomists

South-Western States


W.H. Fuller Arizona State Univ.


"Almost all of man's waste enters the soil. The air and the streams and rivers are
merely transport systems to the land. People are getting very sensitive about what's
being put into the ocean; in fact, there is strong legislation now to prohibit any
dumping of disposal into the ocean. The land itself then, and the soil,
stands between life and lifelessness at the present time. There are two aspects of
pollution: One is the past aspect, "How do we clean up what we have done in the past?"
The second is "What are we going to do in the future?" I believe that we need to get
away from, in general, what we call point-source pollution and spread our wastes out
in an effective manner in a wider area. Otherwise we are going to have to treat them
differently, like pyrolysis or something, particularly those wastes manufactured by
the chemical industry for weed killing and others which are highly toxic. I believe we
need to get bright students in agriculture and focus their attention on the
importance of carrying on this fundamental work on the environment. They should not
just be sure that fish are in the right stream, but be sure as well that we know the
basic sciences behind why the environment is as it is and what we are doing to it."


J.R.
Fenwicdk



W.F. Keim


Rocky-Mountain States

Colorabo State Univ.




Colorado State Univ.


"Another major problem is "How do we manage disturbed lands in Colorado?" Other
problems confronting us include front range development for agriculture versus urban
development, erosion problems that come from construction of houses, shopping centers
and so-forth. Agronomists have to help solve- these problems."

"As Colorado continues to grow, and we are one of the most rapidly growing states in
the union, people like to drink water, take baths, wash cars, water lawns
and so-forth. We are having a constant conflict over who's going to do what with the
water. With our aquifer reportedly going down and with the increased cost of pumping
water from the aquifer we hear people say that they cannot afford to irrigate. This
places responsibility on us to do research on dry-land farming alternatives."


-- -- -- - -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -









and even in the interior areas such as Colorado. The need for more water in the

Southwest places pressure on agronomists to research ways to purify or use the large

quantities of underground saline water.

Solid waste disposal, leaking gasoline storage tanks, hazardous waste disposal,

and degradation of agricultural chemicals are all hazardous to our water quality,

These problems are on the minds of most Americans. As pointed out by Fuller (Table

6), everything in the world's ecosystem eventually cycles back to the soil with

water usually serving as the transport medium. Agronomists have the scientific and

academic expertise to tackle these problems and will be expected by society (whether

they know it or not) to help provide techniques enabling maintenance of a clean,

high-quality environment. New innovative and inexpensive ways of keeping our water

pure and our environment safe will have to come, at least in part, from the

agronomic profession.

It appears that this area of water quality, waste disposal, and related

environmental issues is likely to be the next major national thrust for special

research funding. It has been likened to the recent national thrust in the area of

biotechnology, where the federal government sets aside special funds through USDA

and/or the National Science Foundation for competitive grants in specific areas.

The question is "Will agronomy have a role in planning and implementing this thrust"

and "Will agronomy have a major role in the solution." If we don't get involved,

communicate our expertise, and make ourselves heard, someone else may well end up

with most of the funding.

Another area that agronomy needs to consider strongly while planning for future

funcir~ in the area of agricultural-chemical use is the need to track farm chemicals

below the root zone all the way to the water table. Agronomist have traditionally

studied the properties of soils only in the epipedon, or that portion of the earth's

crust where plant roots grow. Soils all over the world have been or are being









mapped with respect to their agricultural-production potential. Some implications

with respect to suitability for waste disposal and subdivision drainage fields also

come from this. What agronomists have not generally obne is to go a step further

and classify subsoils/bedrock/parent materials all the way to the water table.

This would provide additional needed knowledge on the potential for chemical

movement and contamination of underground water.


Other problems


Several problem areas facing agronomists are indicated in Fig. 3. As was

pointed out earlier, insuring that American farmers stay in business in order to

provide the people with an inexpensive and wholesome food supply is a major task

facing the U.S. For the most part this emphasizes the need for greater efficiency

in farming. When we speak of farming efficiency we are right back to "PRODUCTION

AGRICULTURE", and the burden falls back on the agronomic profession to provide the

basic answers to this problem. How can the farmer produce more for less and still

make a living? The answer to this question involves efficient fertilizer use and

plants bred for resistance to environmental hazards, high quality, and high yield.

It also involves tillage practices that allow for more timeliness in management, are

less labor time consuming and less costly, and at the same time result in a higher

quality environment. It also provides better water-use efficiency through improved

cultural practices, multiple-cropping systems, improved irrigation methods, and

conservation practices. Safer methods of application and lower rates of farm

chemicals are needed, as is diversification in cropping practices including the

introduction of new crops to fit economic needs. Advances in growth regulators,

photosynthetic efficiency, and related crop/plant physiological advances through

molecular genetics are needed as well. The list goes on. These are all agronomic







WATER AQUA-
QUALITY CULTURE


-/

HAZARDOU!
DISPOSAL


SOLID WASTE
DISPOSAL



CLASSIFICATION OF
SOIL FOR POLLUTION
POTENTIAL (SUBSOIL)


S ADMINISTRATION
AND Q---' SOL UTIOP
POLICY


PROGRAM
PLANNING AND
IMPLEMENTATION /


POLLUTION FROM ROADWAYS,
AGRICULTURAL LANDS,
AND INDUSTRY


PRODUCTION
--EFFICIENCY


FUNDING
JUSTIFICATION


DEFINITION FOR
SOCIETY APPRECIATION


INTERDEPENDENCE
ISSUES


COf4UNICA TION
TECHNOLOGY


Figure 3. Present and future social, teaching, research, and extension problems for agronomists








problems that must have adequate funding if they are to be resolved.

There has been, and still is, much talk about the plight of American farmers

and about how they have overproduced. This tends to be one of the most mis-informed

arguments existing today. People are literally starving to death every minute of

the day in third-world countries throughout the world. The incentive for U.S.

farmers to crank up the agronomic production capacity was primarily based upon past

policies of the federal government, which saw agricultural products as a way of

offsetting our balance-of-trade problems and, at the same time, of helping to solve

the problem of hungry and/or starving people throughout the world.

There would be unanamous agreement by most Americans that mankind has a humane

responsibility to "feed the poor and clothe the naked". With people starving all

around us, it is inconceivable that any informed person would believe that we have

an "over-production problem in agriculture". What we have is a "distribution

problem", an "ability-to-pay problem", and a "stolen-market problem", brought on

mostly by foreign-policy problems of our national government. What we need is a

foreign policy which moves our surplus agricultural products to hungry people

throughout the world. It should be obvious that we really don't have an

over-production problem at all.

LaFerney (Table 5) stated one of this nation's problems well. He said that "a

national agricultural trade monetary food policy ranks as one of the biggest needs

that the country faces right now for the survival of U.S. agriculture, the total

economy, and the future of our society itself." One recent summary concluded that

"projections for American agriculture indicate that international competition in

commodity markets, possible energy shortages and foreign-exchange needs to buy

energy, demands for improved world and U.S. diets, and population growth combine to

make it advantageous for the U.S. TO DEVELOP THE CAPACITY TO DOUBLE AGRICULTURAL

PRODUCTION IN THE NEXT ONE-HALF CENTURY OR SO" (Johnson and Wittwer, 1984). In the








mid-1970's we had about four billion people on this earth. In the next decade,

ending in 1986, we gained an additional one billion people. If present trends

continue we will have 8 to 10 billion people on the earth by the year 2020. As Hall

(Table 3) stated, "food, feed, and fiber are not going out of style, and our

production systems are becoming ,.more sophisticated and more complicated".

Agronomists are struggling to do their job in production agriculture for the benefit

not only of our farmers but, as was stated by Parks (Table 6), "we are serving the

people of the world; in fact, you might say that we are being penalized for doing a

good job in the past."

The U.S. land-grant college dream of our forefathers has likely exceeded their

aspirations. The need to maintain and increase support for teaching, research, and

extension agricultural programs is probably more vital today than ever before. With

the big changes in scientific- and/or academically-oriented agriculture workers that

are occurring today, we must help prepare the youth who are the future of the

land-grant system. If agronomists want to share in the direction of this future we

must not only "keep our heads down and our tails up" working on agronomic problems,

but we must also raise our heads occasional and become knowledgeable about local,

regional, national, and international issues. We must pause occasionally to make

sure that our profession is being heard. We are the experts on agronomic issues;

not other professors in agriculture, other fields of academia, those in

agribusiness, nor politicians. We must be willing to accept positions of

leadership/responsibility and to help shape the direction of production agriculture

in the future, not only for the benefit of the U.S. farmer but for all of mankind.

Even If agronomists are willing and able to take up the challenge of production and

the environment, who is going to handle problems relating to agricultural policy?

The latter is a big question, and probably agronomists will have to help here as

well.








SUMWARY


Results of a three-year fellowship study revealed that agronomy was not defined

well for public understanding. A new definition is proposed using key words from 66

leading agronomists who were surveyed from across the U.S. Agronomy is a

"scientific" area of academic and scholarly "study" that deals with the "production"

and "management" of "field crops", sod crops, and weed control. It encompasses "soil

management" and the maintenance of a quality "environment", for a more profitable,

sustainable, and wholesome feed supply for farm animals and fiber and food supply

for mankind. Agronomists have similar basic academic backgrounds, as required for

most fields of agricultural or biological science. Numerous specializations for

educated and trained agronomists exist. These specializations range from purely

crops-oriented titles to purely soils-oriented titles, plus any number of

combinations in between. Most agronmists have some educational training in both

crop science and soil science. The ultimate goal of agronomists, whether basic or

applied, is the production of food, feed, and fiber and the maintenance of a quality

environment. No distinction of merit should be made between basic and applied

agronomists; they are all equally important to the ultimate goal of agronomy and all

should have the same basic training in science in order to identify and solve basic

and/or applied problems.

Agronomists are housed in agronomy departments, soil science departments, crop

science departments, and in departments of a number of other names at land grant

colleges of agriculture. Agronomists make up about 10% of the total workers in

agriculture at land grant colleges of agriculture throughout the U.S. and its

territories. There are numerous job opportunities for agronomy graduates because of

three major factors: 1) New fields are opening up in agriculture which causes








competition for students; 2) There are more jobs available than there are graduates

to fill those jobs; and 3) It is expected that 25% of the existing

agronomists/agricultural workers in land grant colleges will retire by 1990, leaving

numerous job openings in research, teaching, and extension .and opportunities for

upward mobility into leadership and' policy-making positions. All of these

opportunities are occurring at the same time that colleges of agriculture are

experiencing a downward drift in enrollment, further complications the shortage of

trained agricultural majors nation-wide.

We are not the best communicators in the world when it comes to explaining to

the public what agronomy is and what its worth is to society. We must become more

aggressive in learning new communication techniques, for communication not only

among ourselves but also to society as a whole. We must communicate to society so

that society will communicate our worth to state and federal politicians who make

the ultimate decisions with respect to whose programs will be funded and how

heavily. We must utilize the latest technology in communication and we must provide

these resources for hands-on use by each individual faculty member. This includes

hands-on use of computers, slide-set resources, and educational video tapes. We

must include the users of our technology in our educational programs as an aid to

better communication.

Lastly, we as agronomists must not sit back and be on the defensive concerning

the continuous clamour about over-production in agriculture. We must take the

offensive and set the record straight concerning present and future needs for feed,

fiber, food and a quality environment, not only for this country but also for all of

mankind. We must point out that we do not truely have overproduction; we have a

distribution and ability-to-pay problem, a stealing-of-export-markets problem, and a

federal national agricultural policy problem. These latter problems are often

caused either by other agricultural scientists not adequately doing their jobs, by









politics or by greed. At any rate, these latter problems must be solved, and not at

the expense of production agriculture, in an age when people are hungry, naked, and

starving to death throughout the earth.

What is the future of agronomy? It is great and may even be greater than ever

before. Agronomists must be willing ,to sacrifice, to take a break once in a while,

to look around to see what other problems there are which they may be able to help

solve. At present, opportunities for agronomists to move into administrative,

leadership, and policy-making positions are probably greater than ever before.

Agronomists must be prepared to accept such challenges of leadership for the benefit

of production agriculture and for the survival of mankind.



ACKNOWLEDGMENTS


The W.K. Kellogg Foundation is gratefully acknowledged for awarding the first

author with a National Kellogg Fellowship which provided financial support for

much of this project. Appreciation is extended to Wanda E. Gallaher for her

technical support, without which collection of much of these data would not have

been possible.









REFERENCES CITED


American Society of Agronomy. 1985. Exploring Careers in Agronomy, Crops, and

Soils. ASA, CSSA, & SSSA. 677 South Segoe Road, Madison, WI 53711.



Dalal-Clayton, D.B. 1981. Black's Agricultural Dictionary. Adam and Charles Black.

The Pitman Press, Bath, Great Britain. p 11.



Funk, I.K., C. Thomas, and F.H. Vizetelly. 1960. Funk and Wagnell New Standard

Dictionary of the English Language. Funk and Wagnalls Co. New York. P 56-57.



Johnson, Glenn L. and Sysvan H. Wittwer. 1984. Agricultural Technology Until 2030:

Prospects, Priorities, and Policies. Special Report 12, Agricultural Experiment

Station. Michigan State University.



Moses. Date Unknown. Genesis. 1:28; 1:30; 2:15. Holy Bible, New International

Version. Zondervan Bible Publishers. Grand Rapids, Michigan.



Solomon. Date Unknown. The Proverbs. 24:27; 27:2. Holy Bible, New International

Version. Zondervan Bible Publishers. Grand Rapids, Michigan.



Murray, J.A.H. 1888. A new English Dictionary on Historical Principles. 1:192.

Oxford at the Clarendon Press.



NASULGC. 1984. 1983-1984 Enrollment at State and Land-Grant Universities.

National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, Suite 710, One

Dupont Circle, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036. 15 p.



55


---rr.~~.--*--------,------ ----











REFERENCES CONTINUED


USD4. 1985. 1984-1985. Directory of Professional Workers.in State Agricultural

Experiment Stations and Other Cooperating State Institutions. Agric. Handbook No.

305. Superintendent of Docurents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington

D.C. 20402. 237 p.



Webster, A. Merriam. 1978. Wesbter's New International Dictionary of the English

Language. Second Edition Unabridged. p 52.


Whitney, W.D. 1889. The Century Dictionary. An Encyclopedic lexicon of the English

Language. 1:118. The Century Co., New York.




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