|MSU Texas Announces Agribusiness Concentration|
Gift Underwrites Agribusiness Economics BBA Linking University, Community
In Texas, it’s no secret that farming and ranching roots run deep. In fact, according to the Texas Department of Agriculture, the Lone Star State leads the nation in cattle, cotton, hay and sheep among other products. Given that rich history and economic impact, the addition of an agribusiness concentration at MSU Texas is a natural fit to the business curriculum.
Beginning in Fall 2018, Midwestern State University will launch an agribusiness concentration in its economics major to develop graduates who have the knowledge, skills, and competencies to be successful as they enter the agribusiness industry. “This specialty will be attractive to our traditional market of economics students from this region as a specialized understanding of the agribusiness industry. The program will provide them with a competitive advantage,” said MSU President Suzanne Shipley.
In the United States, the need for qualified employees in the ag industry is growing as 81 percent of those jobs needed in the field require education beyond high school. Last year, there was a deficit of almost 10,000 graduates with ag degrees to fill open positions in the United States, according to AgCareers.com. Additionally, research shows that over the next 30 years, the world’s food production must double to meet the demand of the growing population.
The mission of the MSU’s Dillard College of Business Administration is to provide students with experiences that will develop their knowledge and competencies needed for professional career entry, mobility and leadership. In turn, the Dillard College provides specialized services that contribute to the economic education, development and vitality of the region.
“We believe that tying the concentration for agribusiness to the community will yield many benefits to all. This area is particularly rich in farming and ranching knowledge because of the farmers, ranchers, and their families who have been here for many generations,” said Dr. Robert Forrester, who led the discovery phase of the project and is the Dillard Distinguished Professor of Finance. “By working hand in hand with the local community, we can leverage their needs together to help meet the growing agricultural needs of the industry,” said Forrester.
Students in agribusiness will learn to apply business and economic principles to the production and marketing of food and other agricultural products and to the management of natural resources.
The addition of the agribusiness concentration is made possible through a cornerstone gift from Carol Dillard, a lifelong Wichitan, area rancher and philanthropist. The gift is significant to the Campaign for MSU Texas, a seven-year, $50 million comprehensive campaign for the University.
“Carol’s vision to educate future ranchers and farmers with the best possible practices has created an unparalleled avenue of progress and opportunity,” said Shipley. “The Dillard family’s generosity and support through the years has made the single biggest difference in our ability to enhance preparation for careers in business in this region.”
The gift serves as the start-up funds for the concentration in economics program, underwriting the program in its first five years by providing a dedicated faculty member in the first year and an additional faculty member in three years.
Midwestern State University’s ambitious comprehensive campaign, currently in its early stages, will fund projects to enrich the lives of students, enhance teaching and learning, and invest in the university campus and the community of Wichita Falls.
Shipley notes, “We are calling this campaign ‘Boundless Opportunities’ because it reflects the outlook of our students, our university and our community. The education students receive at MSU Texas transforms their lives and prepares them for a future that is filled with potential.”
For more information about MSU’s campaign, contact Tony Vidmar, Vice President for University Advancement and Public Affairs, at 940-397-4782 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact the Department of Economics at 940-397-4379 for more information about the agribusiness concentration.