Commentary: Yahoo, please don’t mess with the goat ropers
Ag folks are generally good-natured about being…well, aggies. And there are lots of us from ag schools across the country that have heard all the aggie jokes. Texas A&M students are proudly known as the Aggies. At Kansas State University the shops, bars and restaurants close to campus are in an area called Aggieville.
Why, even the football game between Kansas State and Iowa State is referred to as “Farmageddon!”
That’s right, poking fun at aggies is not just reserved for students attending those button-down universities on the coasts. Even us aggies enjoy a good aggie joke. When I was in college – “back in the day,” as they say now – those of us in the “boots-and-jeans crowd” were often, sometimes affectionately, called “goat ropers.” We may not have ever roped a goat, but most of us looked like the type of person you might recruit if you needed a goat roped.
A true aggie, however, – or goat roper, if you prefer – requires more than just looking the part. An aggie either has some tie to a farm or ranch, or they aspire to work in an agricultural related profession and they are attending a college that will help launch such a career path. And that’s where we draw the line. Call us aggies, mock our clothes or our quaint manners such as “Yes, ma’am,” and “No, ma’am,” but don’t criticize our chosen profession. And don’t do it with your mouth full.
That’s how most of us feel about the mostly-useless and inaccurate story that was posted on Yahoo News’ homepage yesterday: “College Majors That Are Useless.” Of the top five “useless” majors, three of them are from the ag college.
Yahoo’s list of five useless degrees, in order: agriculture, fashion design, theater, animal science and horticulture.
Indeed, so many aggies had a burr under their saddle blanket about Yahoo’s story that a Facebook page – “I studied agriculture and I have a job” – was up by midday.
Why Yahoo chose to list the broad category of agriculture separate from more specific degrees indicates to those better-informed that the list is mostly worthless, but the inclusion of the specific “animal science” is just flat wrong. Indeed, sources from a handful of Midwest ag schools told Drovers/CattleNetwork enrollment in animal science is up, and more than 90 percent of animal science graduates find jobs.