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Fall 2003 - Status

Destination Purdue > Fall 2003 - Status

Purdue agriculture programs reach #1 status

By Krista Graves

Curt Elpers

Photo by Krista Graves

Curt Elpers, a junior in agricultural and biological engineering, works on his tractor and sprayer model using ProEngineer, a computer-aided design (CAD) program.

Not just one, but two departments in Purdue University's School of Agriculture offer programs ranked number one in the nation.

In recent national studies and rankings, Purdue's agribusiness and finance program in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Purdue's Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering undergraduate program (ABE) have claimed the top spots in their respective categories.

Agribusiness

Purdue's agribusiness and finance graduate program was ranked number one according to a study conducted by Oregon State University. The study, which was conducted in 1999 to classify and nationally rank agriculture departments and programs, is the only one of its kind that has been conducted in recent years.

One of the main reasons for the Purdue program's ranking is tradition. Professor Jay Akridge explained that agribusiness goes back a long time at Purdue. "It's been a part of the School of Agriculture for mroe than 40 years," Akridge said. The program's relationship with the agribusiness industry is another reason it ranked so high.

A cycle of students go through their undergraduate studies, move onto graduate school, then get jobs in agribusiness and hire other Purdue graduates. "The industry is actively seeking Purdue graduates," Akridge said.

Agricultural and Biological Engineering

Also receiving a number-one ranking was the undergraduate program in Purdue's Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering (ABE) which was placed on the top of the charts by U.S. News & World Report. The magazine alternates, focusing on ranking undergraduate programs one year and graduate studies the next. Last year, it ranked ABE number two in the nation in graduate studies.

Nathan Mosier, an assistant professor in ABE, said that ABE has a variety of programs for students to get involved in, but it has one aspect that sets it apart from other departments of its kind. "Our department is one of the few in the nation to offer a degree in food process engineering," Mosier said. Students in this program get to work closely with those in the Department of Food Science at Purdue to study safe and efficient ways to manufacture and package different varieties of food.

Like the agribusiness program, ABE also has had a tradition of very high job placement. Companies actually come to the ABE department seeking Purdue graduates, Mosier said.