Published on 02/06/01

Tifton-based Agricultural Major Proposed at UGA

The University of Georgia's agricultural college is proposing a new major at its Tifton, Ga., campus to take advantage of research and extension expertise in new agricultural technologies.

The new Agriscience and Emerging Technologies major would be convenient for south Georgia students. It would be available to anyone entering the University of Georgia.

The major will be offered only at the Tifton campus, said David Knauft, associate dean for academic affairs in the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

"This degree will take advantage of the people, facilities and resources at the Coastal Plain Experiment Station," said Knauft, who began pushing for the Tifton-based degree a year ago.

Educational Partnership

The CAES will work in partnership with Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. Agricultural students have been able to get only an associate degree at ABAC. Students wanting a four-year UGA degree have had to move to Athens to continue their agricultural education.

With the new major, though, students could take courses required for the first two years at ABAC. Once they finish their ABAC degree, they could transfer to UGA and attend classes in Tifton, not Athens. The students would become UGA students in Tifton and would have to meet university standards and requirements.

Knauft said most classes would be based in the National Environmentally Sound Production Agriculture Laboratory.

"Students will get hands-on, in-the-field and research experience from the Tifton faculty," he said.

Agricultural Interest

Knauft said 80 percent of the students in the ABAC college transfer program expressed interest in the new program. And more than 900 high school biology students in south Georgia returned a survey, with more than 35 percent expressing interest in the program.

Knauft felt confident the new major will do well in Tifton. But there is no established date for the major yet.

"There is still a lot of work to do," he said. "There is no university program in Tifton, and a lot has to be done."

Knauft said the unique major would offer an excellent opportunity for students from around the Southeast to study the latest in production agriculture technologies and learn new discoveries can help the rural economy.

Brad Haire is the former news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.