Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College kicks off Ag Tech Management degree program

Nov. 15—TIFTON — Graduates from the newest bachelor's degree program at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College will be ready to tackle the job market with skills perfectly suited for the workplace.

ABAC's Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Technology Management promises to fill many existing needs in the agriculture industry nationwide.

Mark Kistler, dean of ABAC's School of Agriculture and Natural Resources, said the program is broad in scope as it prepares students for a wide variety of jobs. Technical careers that include sales or management in the production, processing, or manufacturing of agricultural materials are possibilities for graduates.

"The Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Technology Management program will prepare students for a wide range of agricultural careers focused on problem-solving, systems analysis, and management," Kistler said. "Course work in this major develops students' knowledge and skills in the agricultural, biological and physical sciences, along with business, management, and applied technical skills — all of which are necessary in today's agricultural environment."

Kistler based his comments on the results of an industry panel that met on campus to discuss what employers are looking for in graduates from an ATM degree program. That panel included representatives from companies that manufacture and sell agricultural equipment, irrigation dealers, agricultural commissions, consultants, alumni, and others who work in the agricultural industry.

ABAC administrators and faculty used that information to help develop the program. And because no new courses needed to be added, ABAC was ready to start the new program immediately following University System of Georgia approval in August. ABAC recently broke ground on a new $11 million Agricultural Technology building.

"As the State College of Agriculture, it's imperative that we offer programs that prepare our students to grow Georgia's largest industry," Kistler said. "This program does that. The agriculture industry continues to grow, and the state's agricultural mission has a specific focus on technology. We are positioned well to capitalize on that need."

The program will help provide a solution in rural Georgia that has repeatedly been emphasized by economic development groups. The Georgia Chamber of Commerce made talent development and retention in rural Georgia one of its top initiatives while the Southern Georgia Regional Commission listed higher-paying jobs in the region to address the area's "brain drain" as one its biggest needs in its Regional Work Program.

Students in the ATM program will complete 120 credit hours for a four-year degree, which emphasizes learning experiences through laboratory activities and applied knowledge relevant to advancing agricultural industry.