Ag majors search for nearby schools

By McKenzie Balero
Pulse Staff Reporter

Two newborn calves with their mom in Central Texas.

Despite seven high schools in the San Antonio area that offer Agriculture programs, it is impossible for a college student to stay home and pursue a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture.

Palo Alto is the only college in San Antonio that offers an Agriculture major. No local university does. This creates an inconvenience for those who are unable to afford to move away and attend college or for students who are trying to graduate debt-free by staying home.

You may think agriculture is just ranching, riding horses or growing food, but it involves more than that.

Agriculture is the science of farming, including cultivation of the soil for the growing of crops and the rearing of animals to provide food and other products. Without agriculture, no one has a livelihood. People use agriculture every day without realizing how essential it is.

McKayla Balero, a senior at Texas State who is pursuing a degree in Agribusiness, had no choice but to transfer from Palo Alto to Texas State this spring.

“I tried to stay home and graduate debt-free, but that was impossible,” said Balero, who is frustrated with the three- to four-hour commute twice a week to study Agriculture.

Texas State does not have soil testing and they cannot sell or harvest meat, which Balero explained is a major inconvenience for the area of Agribusiness she wants to pursue.  

Ty Chumbley, lead instructor of Agriculture at Palo Alto, said that agriculture should be a part of the curriculum starting in elementary school, following through middle school.

Emily Garza, a student in the Agriculture program at Palo Alto, said, “We do not have any resources locally to continue our agriculture education, and it is ending the agriculture society from expanding, which will create a major problem.”

Garza wants to pursue a degree in Agriculture Science, which will cause her to move to College Station to attend Texas A&M.

Palo Alto offers 10 subcategories of Agriculture majors, from Animal Science and Food Science to Agribusiness. Since A&M’s agriculture program is offered in Kingsville, agriculture will not be offered at the San Antonio campus. The major you choose will determine which university you will attend. Texas A&M, Texas State, Tarleton, Texas Tech and Sam Houston are some of the public universities with Ag degrees.

Being a part of the agriculture industry opens so many doors for students. Agribusiness differs from an ordinary business degree because everyone within the agriculture industry works hand-in-hand and you stay connected with one another.   

The San Antonio Livestock Show & Rodeo offers many scholarships that can help fund your education. Palo Alto works closely with S.A.L.E. to help the youth in area agriculture programs.

For more information on PAC’s Ag program, contact Joseph Coppola, interim department chair, at (210) 486-3208, or you may visit him in San Marcos Hall, Room 107F.

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