12.10.2011

Majoring in 'Minor' Things: Why do Black students avoid studying agriculture?



by Jesse Muhammad


HOUSTON (FinalCall.com) - When reviewing lists of the “most popular” majors selected by incoming college students throughout America, agriculture is hardly mentioned or pursued by this generation. Omari Muhammad, a college sophomore, is determined to help change the aversion his peers have towards this field that is necessary for the survival of all people.

“I believe most young people don’t have a true understanding of the importance of agriculture. Plus most of us run away from something that involves getting our hands dirty yet the things we eat come from the land,” said Omari Muhammad, who is majoring in animal science at Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU), a HBCU located 45 miles west of Houston.

Omari Muhammad developed an affinity for agriculture while working on a farm every summer owned by his grandparents. He decided to pursue it in college and is presently taking courses such as agriculture marketing management.

“I don’t see a lot of young people flocking to this major versus other majors. We need more of our experienced Black farmers to go into the middle schools and high schools to teach us early about why we can’t survive without farming. This may help to increase the number of college students pursuing it,” opined Omari Muhammad, who also serves as president of the PVAMU chapter of the Nation of Islam Student Association.

For the past few months, the importance of land ownership has been an on-going theme in recent messages and radio interviews by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. In his appearance at PVAMU on Nov. 9 he even suggested that anyone majoring in sociology or psychology should change their major right away.

Janice Henderson, who is majoring in psychology at a local community college, was in the audience when he said that. She got slightly offended but understood his point. “I will admit he has me thinking about why I even chose psychology as a major and what direction I’m going to take once I graduate. He’s right in that there aren’t a lot of opportunities out there in my major but I’m just not a land type of person,” Ms. Henderson said with a smile.

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