Kirkwood Agricultural Science Program Top in Nation

College Earns Number One Ranking for Associate Degrees Awarded

Cedar Rapids, Iowa (October 12, 2015)-The Kirkwood Community College Agricultural Science program is number one in the nation for associate degrees awarded by a two-year college. The ranking was announced by Community College Week as part of the publication’s 2015 Top 100 Associate Degree Producer’s list.

Kirkwood saw the number of degrees awarded in the program jump from 101 to 117 from 2013 to 2014, increasing 16 percent over that timespan. According to Agricultural Sciences Dean Scott Ermer, there are many elements contributing to the success of the program.

“Kirkwood takes great pride in the quality of education we provide,” said Ermer. “We have knowledgeable faculty who have worked in the industry and have close industry connections. The training facilities, labs and equipment are some of the best and up-to-date in the nation. Our students get a hands-on education where they develop one-on-one relationships with faculty creating a learning environment geared towards student success. The result is that we are producing the future leaders of the agriculture industry. It’s really exciting.”

This fall, Kirkwood has 609 students enrolled in 14 agricultural related programs of study. The Agriculture Production, Agriculture Business, Parks and Natural Resources and Agriculture Geospatial programs have the highest number of students.

Demand for college-trained employees in the agriculture industry is expected to increase dramatically in the coming years. They will be needed to combat the challenges of feeding an increased world population as well as the retirement of a great number of the baby boomer generation.

“There are incredible opportunities on the horizon for our graduates,” said Ermer. “Even with record college enrollments in these programs, the demand is so great that there is a shortage of trained college graduates in agriculture to meet the job openings. The students know this and for them the future is very bright.”

For more information on the Agricultural Science program at Kirkwood, go to www.kirkwood.edu/ag.

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