Tennessee has over 90% of its area in forests and farmland. Corn, hay, and cotton take the bulk of crop land. Soybeans are also widely grown and contribute 11% of Tennessee’s agricultural income. In terms of revenue, however, beef cattle are the most valuable. This is followed by young chickens. Tennessee ranks 2nd in the country for the number of meat goats. Nursery and greenhouse products as well as tobacco are also important to the industry as are hogs and horses. Tennessee exports nearly $1 billion internationally in raw agricultural products each year.
This is not to say that most people live or work on big farms. However, many do have family or friends that do. And it is very common for people to have a small garden in their back yards. Having fresh vegetables in season is part of the culture and you can expect to see people sharing corn, tomatoes, and beans, among other things during the summer and fall. Small farmers sell local goods and specialty products at the 125 farmers markets across the state.
With agriculture being a foundational enterprise to many countries around the world it is a noble field of study. Several schools in Tennessee have programs that include it. Southwest Tennessee Community College has an associates in Horticulture and you can also work with landscaping which ties into business planning. Austin Peay University has a Bachelor’s in General Agriculture which will give you a good background in a range of venues. Both UT Martin and Tennessee State University have a Master’s degree available. Each of these schools are in middle and west Tennessee. In East Tennessee, the premier university in Tennessee is UT Knoxville which offers degrees in a variety of specialties as well as several doctorates including Food Science which can translate into other fields such as hospitality or medicine. Even if you do not want a degree in agriculture as a big business, you can benefit from understanding how it contributes to the economy in your country.