SC State’s Agribusiness Program to host Agribusiness Institute

Thursday, July 16, 2009

As part of an intensive effort to recruit minority high school students to the SC State agribusiness program, an Agribusiness Institute will be held on Thursday, July 16, 2009 at 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. in Belcher Hall, 3rd Floor Development Room.

The goal of the Institute is to bring together vocational agricultural teachers, advisors of school chapters of the Future Farmers of America (FFA), career guidance counselors and others to discuss and provide information about the sophisticated technical and professional careers in all branches of modern agriculture, with special emphasis on agribusiness. This program compliments the Agribusiness Summer Camp for high school students that were held June 15 – 19, 2009.

Dr. Barbara Adams, chair of the Department of Accounting, Agribusiness and Economics, says that “this Institute, along with other marketing initiatives, is designed to get this point across and impress upon potential students, their families and advisors that agribusiness is not just about farming, and that the modern food and fiber sector is highly technology and business oriented driven by the forces of globalization.”

One of the difficulties the agribusiness program has had to deal with in recruiting students is the misconception that equates agriculture and traditional farming with agribusiness and the historical association of agriculture to slavery. To delete that image, the agribusiness curriculum at SC State has been integrated with the business curriculum in the College of Business and Applied Professional Sciences, to bring a professional perspective that focuses on the marketing and distribution of food and fiber products.

Dr. Suresh Londhe, the agribusiness recruitment coordinator, notes that, “the 2005-2010 projections of demand for agribusiness graduates in the U.S., particularly in the food, agricultural, forestry, fishing, and hunting industry, exceeds the supply, resulting in a continued shortage. This is even more profound for minority graduates in agribusiness, and the reason we must bring together groups who can influence potential students, as well as those involved in the agribusiness industry, to help us increase our enrollments and graduates from the agribusiness program.”

The Agribusiness Institute is funded by an 1890 Capacity Building Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to recruit and train underrepresented minorities into agribusiness careers.

For more information or to register for the Agribusiness Institute, contact Dr. Suresh Londhe at (803)536-8453.