The University System of Georgia Board of Regents recently gave the University of Georgia approval to offer a new program at its Tifton location.
The new agribusiness major focuses on the "money side" of agriculture, giving students a head start on the diverse management, marketing and financial strategies associated with agriculture, the state's No. 1 industry.
And the industry is looking for business-savvy students, said Octavio Ramirez, head of the UGA department of agricultural and applied economics, from which the degree will be offered.
"A recent study concluded that there is a great demand for such a program in South Georgia, and we want to be responsive to the needs of the citizens of our state.
"In addition, the demand for agribusiness professionals across the state far exceeds the current supply, so we need to graduate more students from our program," Ramirez said.
Students will complete their core studies at other schools, then transfer to the UGA Tifton campus to concentrate on the agribusiness major. The university has transfer agreements in place with several schools that outline what courses students need to take for an easy transfer into the new program.
UGA is adding the agribusiness major because it is committed to providing local communities the programs the citizen shave asked for.
A majority of UGA Tifton agricultural graduates live and work south of Macon after graduation, keeping their training and experience in the area, making it even more important to continue the relationship between local communities and UGA, said Joe West, the UGA assistant dean in Tifton.
"We want to provide highly trained graduates to the agricultural industries. Agriculture is a highly technical enterprise, and it is big business. Running an agricultural enterprise or working in an industry which supports agriculture requires business knowledge. This region needs more graduates with ag-business training, and they will make an immediate impact on businesses in this area," West said.
Classes for the major will begin fall 2011. For more information about this or other majors offered by the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences in Tifton, call 229-386-3528 or go to the website.
(Thanks to Jessica Green, student writer with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)
Billy Skaggs is Agriculture Agent and County Extension Coordinator for the UGA Cooperative Extension in Hall County, 770-535-8293.