New bachelor’s program in agricultural sciences to serve growing need in Yakima Valley
In response to rapid job growth in the Yakima Valley’s diverse agricultural industry, Yakima Valley College will begin offering a new Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) in Agricultural Sciences starting in Fall 2022.
The new BAS program will build upon the strengths of several associate degree and certificate options currently offered by YVC’s Agriculture Department.
“Students enrolled in the BAS program will gain the advanced technical skills, problem-solving capabilities and leadership abilities that are in high demand in our region’s crop and animal production and supporting industries,” said Trent Ball, chair of the department.
Applications to enter the program’s first cohort will be accepted March 1 through May 31. Classes will begin September 2022.
Ball noted that adding the BAS option to YVC’s existing degree and certificate options in agriculture will give students in the region a chance to earn a bachelor’s degree close to home for the first time. Classes will be offered on the college’s Yakima and Grandview campuses for the convenience of students in both the upper and lower Yakima Valley.
“Our program is designed for students at the very beginning of their careers who are interested in a four-year degree and it’s also designed for working adults who want to advance in their careers by earning their bachelor’s degree,” said Agriculture Instructor Holly Ferguson. Students in the program will develop broad skills in finance, strategic operations, harvest technology, soil health, plant physiology, pest management and more.
“A four-year degree will provide graduates of YVC’s program with more salary potential and improve their marketability,” Ferguson said. Potential compensation for managers in the farming, fishing, forestry and related industries with a bachelor’s degree can start at $68,090 annually depending upon other experience.
Key features of the BAS in Agricultural Sciences program include:
- Hands-on learning is incorporated in all classes.
- Classes are taught by agriculture science faculty with extensive experience in the industry.
- Hybrid courses combine in-person and online instruction, with evening classes meeting once or twice a week.
- Cohort model that enables students to progress through the program together, offering additional opportunities for professional networking.
- Completion of the program in two years for full-time students who have already earned their associate’s degree.
YVC Agriculture Department faculty and staff worked with the region’s agriculture industry for several years to determine educational and training needs in developing the new BAS in Agricultural Sciences program. With more than 33% of producers in Yakima County being 65 and older, a wave of retirements coming in the near future means the demand for well-prepared managers is particularly acute in Washington state’s No. 1 producer of fruits, berries, livestock, poultry and other animal products.
“Employment opportunities are available and steadily growing,” said Agriculture and Biology Instructor Stacey Gingras. “With the increase in technological advancements in agriculture, the labor force will need to be increasingly skilled and adaptable for agriculture producers to continue to see success in domestic and global markets.”