Introduction to Agricultural Science
Agricultural science is the study of the practices involved in the field of agriculture. Agricultural science and agriculture, although related to each other, are essentially very different from one another. Agriculture is the art of growing plants, fruits and vegetables for human consumption. Agricultural science, on the other hand, deals with research, improvement and development in techniques of production like irrigation management, pest control etc. It includes the processes necessary for improving the quality and quantity of agricultural products.
Agricultural science deals with transforming the primary products to finished, consumption-ready products. It also involves the prevention and correction of adverse factors hampering productivity. It has been referred to as a local science because of its strong relation to the local areas. It is often considered to be a science dealing with eco-regions as it depends largely on climate and properties of soil in a particular area. These factors vary largely from one place to another. Many individuals are of the opinion that agricultural science depends on the local weather and local soil characteristics, so specific crops need to be studied locally.
The path breaking work of Gregor Mendel in the field of agriculture made its study very popular around the world. However, in the modern era the chemical fertilizer industries in Germany revolutionized the field of agriculture in the eighteenth century. In USA, a revolution in agricultural science began with the passing of the Hatch Act in 1887. The driving force behind the Hatch Act was the need of the nation to empower the farmers so that they could improve productivity and feed the growing population. Since the early nineteen sixties, agriculture has gained a lot of importance in developing and developed countries.
This process was known as the Green Revolution and was linked to the process of selecting and substantially improving crops for maximum productivity. Even today, a lot of research is being conducted in this field of study, which has led to the emergence of various new areas of study like waste treatment, pest management, agricultural philosophy and others that focus essentially on food production. With the growth in world population, agricultural science is the one science which will play an important role in ensuring the continuity of the human race.
Agricultural Science Degree
Agricultural science is a multi-dimensional approach to understanding and practice of various economic, social and natural sciences that are involved in agriculture. Students who graduate in the field of agricultural science have a fair understanding of the relationship between farmers, ecosystems and end-consumers through the intensive study of economics, animal husbandry, botany and everything else which is involved in the field of farming and food production. Since more than half the population of the world is indirectly or directly involved in agriculture and production of food, degrees in agricultural science provide a broad spectrum of career choices ranging from education to agronomy.
The degree consists of a curriculum that prepares the students for entry level jobs in this field. They are trained in animal and plant biology, horticulture, animal agriculture, soil science, sustaining agriculture, basic chemistry, production of food and the economics of agricultural production. These varied subjects ensure that the student is well prepared for any challenge that he or she might come across in this field.
The degree courses focus on an intensive and focused study of specialties in agriculture. The classes include advanced level chemistry, economics, management of water, computer application required for management of agriculture, environmental design, biological engineering, application of pesticides and insecticides, education and biotechnology etc. The degree also requires extensive laboratory and field work. The student can then opt for specialization courses in any of these subjects studied earlier. They can go for either online or campus based degrees in agricultural science.
Since agricultural science revolves around field and laboratory work, students cannot opt for master degrees in this field of study, through online education. However, many online schools offer advanced courses in various fields like environmental policies, environmental studies and also environmental management. These three fields are very important in the study and management of food production. The courses are very similar to that of agricultural science. There are many private and state universities all over the world which offer basic and advanced level courses online.
Many universities in the US are known for offering various degree and diploma courses in this field. In the last few decades, universities in India and Australia have emerged as heavyweights in this particular field of study by undertaking revolutionary research and successfully implementing techniques in the various areas of production in agriculture. Hence, agricultural science students are highly in demand, in countries around the world.
It is not always possible for an individual to pursue full time degree courses, due to lack of time and money. In such cases, the individuals can opt for diploma courses. Any student who has completed high school education can apply for these diploma courses. Such diploma courses are also available in the field of agriculture. The courses are designed in such a way that they provide the students with a thorough introduction to horticulture, animal husbandry and agriculture. Agricultural diploma courses are highly recommended for students who want to pursue a career in Horticultural management or Management of Agricultural Farms.
There are many types of diploma courses like Basic Diploma, Post Graduate Diploma and Advanced Diploma courses. These courses offer the students with the knowledge of different aspects of agricultural science. These courses also cover some elementary subjects like human resource, physical and financial management.