Tuesday at the First Farmers Bank & Trust Agricultural Summit at Ross-Ade Stadium, Purdue Ag Dean Karen Plaut kicked off the day with exciting news for ag in Indiana. Enrollment in the College of Agriculture is at its highest since the 80s.
“Our students really want to make a difference and they see agriculture and the food system as an opportunity to do that. So, as they look to the future, they know how important it is that we feed the world and they are rising to the occasion. So, they’re coming, and I think they have a variety of careers, they see a 97 percent graduation rate, and jobs that those students get, and they say, ‘I want to be a part of that.’”
Plaut says they’re drawing more and more students in that are not from a traditional ag background.
“We are the practical application of the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) disciplines. So, the ability to take their knowledge and then use it to make a difference in the world is really attracting a lot of different students. So, for example, there’s this data mine. 800 students, not all agriculture students, but ones really interested in computers and coding. They realized through that that places like John Deere have really interesting problems and they help to solve those problems and that brings them into agriculture.”
Plaut added that the advances in digital agriculture are attracting many of those same students.
Ag tech will again be in the spotlight this weekend as Ranveer Chandra, chief scientist at Microsoft, will be the featured speaker Saturday at the Purdue Ag Alumni Fish Fry.