Grasslands need to be managed properly to prevent overgrazing, minimize undesirable botanical composition shifts, maintain or improve grassland health, and ensure long-term productivity. The multi-institutional Grasslands Management Certificate program will teach students that what is done to the grassland now will determine its future.
The purpose of the 12 credit hour program is to provide current and future grassland professionals (i.e., managers, advisers, and conservationists) and others with distance education opportunities that lead to a graduate certificate in grasslands management.
Grasslands (including rangelands, pasturelands, and haylands) are the principal land resource type in the Great Plains, comprising more than 50% of the land surface area. Grasslands represent a fundamental resource of the region that determines the environmental and economic future of the Great Plains states.
Faculty members from six cooperating Great Plains universities have developed online graduate courses in grassland management. The courses cover a diversity of topics and provide the subject matter needed by students wanting to develop their expertise in grassland management.
Grassland Management: Survey Research & Trends in Agriculture
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, projects a 16 percent increase in the need for scientists and technologists between 2008 and 2018. The report states the following:
- Job growth among agricultural and food scientists should be faster than the average for all occupations.
- Opportunities are expected to be good over the next decade, particularly in food science and technology and in agronomy.
- Job growth will stem primarily from efforts to increase the quantity and quality of food produced for a growing population.
- An increasing awareness about the health effects of certain types of foods and the effects of food production on the environment, will give rise to research into the best methods of food production.
A USDA study of employment opportunities for college graduates in the food and agricultural sciences for 2005-2010 listed four areas of demand: consumers and their preferences, evolving business structures, new developments in science and technology, and public policy choices and accountability. The study indicated that there are slightly more than 52,000 annual job openings with only 49,300 qualified graduates.
Great Plains IDEA Program
This program is part of the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (Great Plains IDEA), a consortium of eleven universities offering fully online graduate programs.
Each university brings a unique strength to the multi-institution academic programs.
You apply, and are admitted at one university; enroll in all your courses at that university; and, graduate or receive a certificate from that university. However, your online courses are taught by the best faculty in the discipline from several universities.