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Southwest Minnesota State to offer bachelor’s in ag education

MARSHALL — Southwest Minnesota State University will begin offering a bachelor’s degree in agricultural education in the 2015 spring semester in cooperation with area community colleges.

The additional of the bachelor of science degree makes the school the second institution in the state to offer the degree, according to a release from the university in Marshall.

“The demand for ag education instructors far exceeds the number of students currently graduating with that degree,” Dr. Gerry Toland, SMSU Agribusiness Management professor, said in the news release. “We think this is a good addition to our other ag offerings and will help satisfy a demonstrated need in the state.”

The school also offers degrees in agribusiness management, agronomy, ag solutions and agriculture.

The new major will offer two tracks. One will be for teacher licensure to train ag instructors and FFA advisers. The other will be in communications, marketing and leadership, training for students to go into ag journalism or work in ag-related communications.

SMSU will collaborate with Ridgewater, Minnesota West and South Central colleges, which already offer some classes that the university does not offer.

“It’s a good example of institutions working together for the benefit of our students,” Toland said.

“Adding an agricultural education major is a natural fit for this institution,” SMSU President Connie J. Gores said in the release. “We are located in the breadbasket of the state, and the demand for ag education graduates is high. This fits well with the university’s mission to serve not only the region but the entire state of Minnesota.”