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Are College Degrees Surrounding Food and Animals and Plants Really “Useless”?

January 20, 2012 Leave a comment

While doing my usual scroll through the social media landscape yesterday I discovered Facebook, Twitter and Google+ to be abuzz about what College degrees were useful in today’s society and which were not.  Having a Degree from Iowa State University myself, I found myself interested in finding out what degrees were deemed useless based on facts.  So I clicked on the article that everyone seemed to be talking about

http://education.yahoo.net/articles/most_useless_degrees.htm.

The Yahoo article turned out to be a blog post of sorts citeing info from the Department of Labor (indirectly) with quite a few of the authors opinions mixed in and few real facts.   So what were the top five listed “Useless Degrees” you ask?

  1. Agriculture
  2. Fashion Design
  3. Theater
  4. Animal Science
  5. Horticulture

Judging by this list, apparently no one needs to :

  1. Eat
  2. Wear Clothes
  3. Watch Actors on TV or Broadway
  4. Have pets care options
  5. Have any Landscaping around their houses, Golf Courses, Football Fields, or local Flower shops.

From a guys point of view, we need all of these!  WE love to eat good food provided by farmers and others in the Ag industry, we can’t live without a good pair of Jeans and a T-shirt, there are few things better than watching a great action movie, mans best friend needs a good vet like Kata Nichols (a vet with a Animal Science Degree) to go to once in a while, and sometimes most importantly us guys need a good local Florist to provide us with flowers for our wives/girlfriends or both (just kidding) from time to time.  Not to exclude the girls, but lets face it, while the the above could be said for you too gals too, I doubt you buy flowers for the guy in your life.

After reading the article I began to think about the value of my degree I worked hard to get, a Bachelors in Agricultural Business.  While I was fortunate enough to be able to come home to work on and eventually take over the everyday operations of our farm, there were many other job opportunities along the way that my Ag Degree allowed me to pursue.  I recall going to an agricultural job fair at ISU where countless companies from all across the country were actively seeking those with Ag Degrees to work for them.  No Degree…NO Job.  It’s that simple.  I wonder if going to the job fair was “useless”  hmm….  NO.   Like I said above, I didn’t take any of those 9-5 jobs which my degree allowed me to enter into, however I do work in the AG field on my own farm.  While I may not need a degree to run my farm, I value it and the education I received greatly because it helps me everyday, in every decision I make which in turn makes my farm better than it would have without a degree.  Many others in my situation would agree.

AG FACTS:

  1. Nearly 30 percent of today’s farmers and ranchers have attended college, with over half of his group obtaining a degree. A growing number of today’s farmers and ranchers with four-year college degrees are pursuing post-graduate studies
  2. Agriculture employs 17% of the U.S. workforce, or about 23 million people.
  3. Agriculture employs more than six times as many workers a the U.S. automotive industry

Back to the original article,  In response to the article a Facebook Page was quickly created appropriately named

“I Studied Agriculture, and I have a Job”

 https://www.facebook.com/pages/I-Studied-Agriculture-I-Have-A-Job/306700539376086?sk=wall

 Almost immediately the page took off and was running…well sprinting…well…something faster than that, maybe like a speeding Indy Car.  It seemed to be gaining exponential popularity as the day went on.  As of this morning, less than 24 hours into the pages young life it had over 2500 likes and growing.  As for the time this post was written, it is boasts over 2700 likes.  Countless posts on the page have stated what degree the posting person has, how they use it and why they believe the article to be in error.  Recently other media types have even picked up on the flaws of the Yahoo Article like those listed below:

The Huffington Post:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/allen-s-levine/useless-college-majors_b_1217401.html

And AG DAY on YouTube

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5l_d3zdx0jI&feature=share

And even other media stations like WIBW.

http://www.wibw.com/blogs/melissa/Useless_Degrees_This_List_Doesnt_Sit_Well_137706603.html

An Agricultural Photographer https://www.facebook.com/#!/lens.of.a.farm.girl Posted these pictures

https://www.facebook.com/#!/photo.php?fbid=314532528589459&set=a.314531975256181.70626.309663002409745&type=1&theater

https://www.facebook.com/#!/photo.php?fbid=314532841922761&set=a.314531975256181.70626.309663002409745&type=1&theater

In the end, if the author was looking for attention he got it.  But in the end, which is more useless, the degree or the article?   In my honest opinion even this flawed article wasnt totally useless because it had 2 items of value.

  1. It brought the AG, Animal Science and Horticulture (all 3 of which are Agriculture Based) together
  2. It proves just how important the AG industry is to our world, and how many jobs are out there for those with AG Degrees.

So, I suppose, in a weird way, we should Thank the author for not doing his homework, studying his sources, or filling in the blanks (so to speak) on his article.  Wait…that kinda sounds like what we all had to complete to get our degrees doesnt it?  Have a great day, and God Bless!

Follow me on Twitter (@boucherfarms) Facebook Page (Boucher Farms) Google+ (Matt Boucher)

#BsLabels, Boneless Bananas, Popcorn, and Marketing.

December 7, 2011 3 comments

A few weeks ago, the Term “Boneless Bananas” came into my vocabulary for the first time ever thanks to a post on www.thefarmerslife.wordpress.com and its author Brian Scott.

What are boneless bananas?  Well believe it or not, you can purchase them at your local grocery store, market, or even the famous Trader Joes.  They are yellow in color, (sometimes pale green) are usually sold by the bunch (by the pound) or sold individually.  I can even guarantee that if you ever have eaten bananas you have consumed a boneless one at some given time in your life.

Confused? concerned?  I bet you never knew there was a such thing as boneless bananas!  The truth is there is.  That is simply because ALL bananas are boneless.  To say that a banana is “boneless” (according to yahoo answer search) simply describes their shape.  However, if someone (who didn’t know any better) saw a sales sticker in a store such as this:

Someone (again who didn’t know any different) may be more inclined to purchase these vs regularly labeled bananas.  Afterall the sign implies that other bananas have bones right?  And who wants to chip a tooth on a bone when biting into a banana!

     So how does this relate to popcorn?  While watching the local news the other day, a “heathy food expert” recommended popcorn as a good healthy snack.  Now, I like popcorn, and have actually grown some myself in the past, so she had my attention.  The next thing this “expert” said really caught my ear.  She proceeded to recommend “whole grain popcorn….” such as this…

Now, I’ve always known that corn, or popcorn in this case is considered a whole grain food in its natural state, but didn’t know if it was still considered a whole grain after popping.  A google search lead me to:

 http://www.orville.com/whole-grain-snack.jsp

This site stated that all popcorn is Whole Grain even after it is popped.  Very interesting.  I learned something new.  Taking this intriguing idea to the next step, I began to look around for signs of “Boneless Bananas”  well, similar #BSLablels.  I began to look for popcorn labeled as Whole Grain.  I found that like the picture above, mostly all of Orville’s popcorn (as well as a few other brands) are labeled as Whole Grain.   However many other brands  are not.  The question I had to ask myself is, If I didn’t know about popped popcorn being a whole grain, would I (or other consumers) be more inclined to purchase the package marked Boneless Bananas, (excuse me, sorry)  “Whole Grain” vs one that isn’t marked?  I’ll let you decide that one for yourself.

Since I usually (maybe excessively) try to take a look at the marketing side of labeling and packaging, (which I believe my wife is probably rolling her eyes right now)  I began to see why Boneless Bananas and Whole Grain Popcorn are marketed the way they are.  Its not about providing healthy popcorn or bananas without a hard boney center. It’s about getting you to purchase their product, even if it means stating the plain and simple truths that the consumer may not put much thought into while picking out food items at the store.

Moral of this story,

While the “Boneless Bananas” and “Whole Grain Popcorn” labels are clearly true in nature, they are not necessary because every Banana is Boneless, and Every kernel of Popcorn is Whole Grain.  In a way, that makes these labels #BSLabels

Want more BS Labels?  Search #bslabels on twitter, Facebook or blog sites around the internet today, for today is BS Labels Day!

I hope you enjoyed this post, learned something, and most importantly, it made you smile.  Now, I’m off to eat a boneless banana.  HAHA

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